Nigeria schools to benefit from Airtel Africa, UNICEF $57m partnership for digital learning

In a bid to increase digital learning amongst children across Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Airtel Africa have announced a multi-million dollar partnership targeted to reach 13 countries.

Airtel Africa’s financial and in-kind contribution for this partnership is $57 million till 2027 (a five-year project) and will allow the organisation to provide equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children.

The Airtel Africa and UNICEF pan-African partnership will benefit learners not only in Nigeria but also in Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

For Nigeria, this new initiative is planning to help connect schools in Lagos and Kano to the internet, to enable children to learn digitally and this pilot initiative is expected to benefit over 10,000 schoolchildren in the two states.

The partnership will help to ensure that every child reaches their full potential.

Read also: How achievable is Nigeria’s 95% digital literacy target by 2030?

“Digital learning is the gateway to equipping young people with the right skills – skills that will support them to transition from learning to earning. We are delighted that Airtel Nigeria shares in this vision, and is helping to drive the process of scaling up internet connectivity for school children in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria representative in a statement.

Airtel Africa is the first private sector partner on the continent to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to Reimagine Education, a global initiative launched by UNICEF in 2020 calling for public and private sector investment in digital learning as an essential service for every child and young person across the globe.

This initiative aims to give children a chance to catch up on their learning needs amid the ongoing global pandemic.

Speaking on this, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track,” she said.

The programme will call on technology and expertise, in addition to direct financial support to connect schools and communities to the internet, enabling free access to online educational content for learners.

It will also provide vital data insights to inform UNICEF’s work to scale-up digital learning and help ensure it is sustainable and meets students’ needs across Africa.

“As a business, we have focused on education as a key area of our corporate social responsibility, and we are delighted that this partnership with UNICEF will enable us to accelerate results. It also coincides with the launch of our new sustainability strategy, which lays out our commitment to education,” said Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa.

“We are excited to be working with UNICEF to advance the education agenda on the continent through facilitating connectivity and online access to play a role in driving change,” he added.

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