Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has said the firm will strive to use its mobile telecommunications products and services to improve the quality of life and contribute to sustainable livelihoods throughout Kenya.
He said this as he delivered a virtual inspirational talk to students learning in Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee camps from his Safaricom Headquarters boardroom. He advised the students to aspire for academic and social excellence.
Mr. Collymore’s address was in line with Safaricom’s partnership with Vodafone foundation, UNHCR and other education NGOs to implement the Instant Classroom initiative, which was created from Vodafone Foundation’s experience of running eLearning programmes in refugee camps.
Safaricom’s work with Refugees
• Chakula Chap Chap – Safaricom has partnered with UNHCR and the World Food Program to help improve humanitarian effectiveness through the ‘Chakula Chap-Chap’ initiative, which translates to ‘food delivered promptly’. This project enables refugees to access food through a cashless system that facilitates secure electronic payments through their M-PESA wallet which can only be used to purchase food.
The benefits of ‘Chakula Chap-Chap’ are four-fold, removing the opportunity for corruption by eliminating middle-men, reducing the cost of distributing relief aid, creating employment and business opportunities for people in refugee camps, and giving refugees the opportunity to choose what they prefer to eat within their circumstances. It restores the dignity of vulnerable persons such as refugees.
• Instant Classrooms – Safaricom has also partnered with Vodafone foundation, UNHCR and other education NGOs to implement the Instant Classroom initiative which was created from Vodafone Foundation’s experience of running eLearning programmes in refugee camps. It was designed to answer connectivity, configuration and supply chain issues encountered when implementing a mobile device based education programme in remote locations by providing an all-in-one easy and quickly deployable solution. The concept behind the solution is to contain all the functionality to support an Instant Classroom within a single robust secure enclosure.
Instant Classroom is designed to be deployed to a school where it can be plugged in to the schools existing power supply and internet connection. As an all-in-one mobile solution including power, Instant Classroom is ideal for locations where both power and connectivity are unreliable or not available. It can therefore also be used to run interactive classes in schools without power or internet access and includes a server with mobile educational content which teachers can access locally without connecting to the internet.
The programme is reaching more than 30,000 young refugees a month and the aim is to bring a quality digital education to up to 3 million young refugees by 2020. Each ‘Instant Classroom’ is equipped with a laptop, 25 tablets preloaded with educational software, a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity.
There are 23 Instant Network Schools in the following locations:
o Dadaab, Kenya – 13 schools
o Kakuma, Kenya – 2 schools
o Ajuon Tok, South Sudan – 2 schools
o Goma, DRC – 1 schools
o Mole & Boyabu, DRC – 3 schools
o Nyarugusu, Tanzania – 2 schools
• Refugees United- Safaricom has also partnered with Ericsson, UNHCR and Vodacom to reconnect refugees. The objective is to assist lost families and friends to trace and reconnect with their loved ones through a family/friend tracing tool available on USSD that allows refugees to register, search for their missing loved ones by sharing information securely and reconnect with their loved ones.