Ericsson has provided the network infrastructure and services to bring voice and data communications to the Millennium Village Project (MVP) in Koraro located in a remote part of northern Ethiopia. With access to 3G connectivity more than 4,000 students and their teachers at two schools involved in the Connect To Learn initiative will now have access to modern learning and teaching resources through Ericsson’s cloud-computing solution. In addition, community health workers in the Millennium Villages will be using mobile phones provided by Sony Mobile and broadband access provided by Ericsson to deliver life-saving health care services directly to households to collect health information for improved monitoring.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President and Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson says: “Education is key to ending poverty and ensuring a better life for people. ICT can play a vital role in providing access to quality classroom resources for both teacher and student, and fostering social awareness and global understanding which has become a necessity nowadays in secondary education.
“Many of the residents in this area rely on the community clinic for health care, with otherwise little or no access to the most fundamental aspects of health care. Connecting the health clinic in Koraro is one part of a new joint continent-wide campaign that aims to train, equip and deploy one million community health workers throughout rural sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2015, reaching millions of underserved people.” Weidman-Grunewald continues.
The deployment of Ericsson’s cloud computing solution in Connect To Learn at Koraro, Masho Secondary School and Megab Secondary School, includes netbooks and wireless terminals that enable both students and teachers to access educational resources on the Internet, along with basic ICT skills training for teachers.
Awash Teklehaimanot, Professor at Columbia University and Director of Millennium Project in Ethiopia said “the Koraro Millennium Village had limited access to communications technologies, however, with the support of Ericsson, the people in Koraro Cluster has benefited from 3G connectivity and Connect To Learn facilities. Students in two secondary schools are connected to the rest of the world using Ericsson donated laptop computers, which will be critical to advance education in the area. Mobile phones are used by community health workers and health extension workers to advance community health efforts. With these facilities and development of our staff, the Koraro cluster will serve as a center of excellence and a model for scaling up of ICT solutions in Ethiopia”
Though it is on the decline, still roughly 10 percent of children die before reaching the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, there were 500 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. Many people suffer unnecessarily from preventable and treatable diseases, from malaria, malnutrition and diarrhea to tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
In Koraro, community health workers use the Open MRS (medical record system) and a smartphone-based health-data management system to collect information and report on malaria and other diseases, the number of births, and the incidence of malnutrition and the health status of pregnant women during household visits. Many of these residents would otherwise have little or no access to the most fundamental aspects of health care services.
In all, Ericsson has provided connectivity to Millennium Villages in 11 countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania Uganda and Liberia.