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Huawei takes mobile internet to teachers in rural Kenya

Friday September 20 2019

Huawei Senior Marketing Manager Boxin Xu

Huawei Senior Marketing Manager Boxin Xu (right), who is in charge of the mobile internet training programme set to be launched in rural Kenya, during an interview in Shanghai, China. The programme targets teachers, youth and farmers. PHOTO | WAIKWA MAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WAIKWA MAINA
By WAIKWA MAINA
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Over six thousand Kenyan teachers in rural areas which are not adequately covered by internet will benefit from a mobile digital classroom training.

The programme will use digital trucks, similar to those used in the Beyond Zero initiative.

The training programme is among the advanced intelligence agreements signed between Huawei and her Kenyan-based development partners.

The deal was signed in Shanghai, China during the ongoing Huawei Connect International forum.

FIRST BENEFICIARY

Mr Adam Lane, the Huawei South Africa Senior Director Public Affairs, said Kenya has been identified and selected as pioneer beneficiary in Africa.

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He said that programme also targets to benefit the youth through the Ajira Programme, farmers and other marginalised communities in remote areas who are yet to fully embrace, utilise and benefit from digital technologies.

Mr Lane described the digital truck as a mobile classroom fitted with small laptops and mobile phones with digital content to train various groups.

“Besides the education sector, we are also targeting the farmers, traders, and youth in the Ajira Programme. But our main focus is the teachers who will, in turn, disseminate and empower the learners at their tender age,” said Mr Lane.

NANDI

He said the digital truck mobile classroom programme will start in Nandi before moving to other areas.

Mr Boxin Xu, the Huawei senior marketing manager, who is in charge the programme, said it is jointly implemented with four other partners – Unesco, Safaricom, Computers for Schools Kenya and Gap, a Belgium-based none governmental organisation.

He says although over 80 percent of Kenya is covered by various networks, less than 60 percent of the population can use and benefit from the internet.

DIGITAL SKILLS

“It was discovered that most people in rural areas do not realise the importance of digital skills. This is the first project in Africa before we roll it out to other countries. We have signed a one-year agreement but it’s a continuous process depending on the needs,” said Mr Xu.

Ms Therese Ndong-Jatta, the Eastern Africa regional director, said the programme aims to ensure that everyone is brought to the digitised world.

“It’s a strategic [venture] targeting rural populations [and] the refugees among other disadvantaged groups. We have agreed to work together; we have today formalised what started as an exploration with Huawei on what we can do together,” said Ms Ndong-Jatta.

She said the programme is similar to another partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education in which books were taken to the rural areas.

“We are going to work together to popularise targeting the unreached through the digital truck, something that comes quite close to the strategy we had in the past to bring books and libraries to the rural areas. It’s a mode of bringing technology to remote locations powered by solar while bringing unlimited internet access to the people,” said Ms Ndong-Jatta.