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ET SchoolConnectivity MFA Sep2020
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BasicInternet:ET SchoolConnectivity MFA Sep2020

Title BasicInternet:ET_SchoolConnectivity_MFA_Sep2020
Place Teams
Date, Time 2020/09/25, 1300-1345
Contact Person Camilla Helgø Fossberg
Participants Vigdis Aaslund Cristofoli, Kim Dauggard Jørgensen Kristmoen, Are Izquierdo Skjær, Merete Dyrud, Josef Noll, Camilla Helgø Fossberg
related to Project BasicInternet
Keywords School Connectivity, Ethiopia
this page was created by Special:FormEdit/Meeting, and can be edited by Special:FormEdit/Meeting/BasicInternet:ET SchoolConnectivity MFA Sep2020

Topics being addressed during the meeting


Background of the meeting was the request by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Ethiopia (ET) to help in connecting schools in the country. The Basic Internet Foundation, together with Ayalew Gizaw Desta, who is the point of contact to the MoE in ET, created a project proposal addressing the connectivity of 500 schools. EyeNetworks established a 2-pager project outline and sent the project outline to Vidar Ellingsen at NORAD, incorporating a total of 8 partners in Norway and ET. The total amount of required funding was close to NOK 46 million, based on the detailed feasibility study performed by the partners. The proposal was supported through a support letter by the MoE, including the contacts between the MoE and the Norwegian Embassy in Addis.

As the deadline for education programmes in Norad had passed, the project outline was not taken up by Norad.

However, the government in Ethiopia, represented by the MoE, asked for other ways in receiving funds for school connectivity. Desta and Noll involved Eivind Fjellstad (NABA), Erling Ølstad (honour councillor of Ethiopia in Norway) and others to bring the proposal to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Norway.

Invitasjon fra MfA

Følgende invitasjon ble sendt by Camilla Helgø Fossberg: Stiftelsen Basic Internet har vært i kontakt med UD, Ambassaden i Addis Abeba og Norad knyttet til mulig prosjekt vedrørende internett tilgang i Etiopia, i samarbeid med utdanningsdepartementet.

UD, ved undertegnede, Ambassaden og Norad vil gjerne få invitere deg til en «Skype for business» samtale fredag 25. september kl. 11.00.

Main take-away from the meeting

Vigdis Cristofoli, representing education support at the Norwegian Embassy in ET, pointed out that there are only limited funds available at the Embassy for extraordinary investments. Merete confirmed the strategic importance and tight and good collaboration in Ethiopia. Despite this priority, UD and Norad confirmed that there are no funds available in Norway for the suggested connectivity of 500 schools.

Kim explained that Norad has proposal opportunities on company support for pre-investigation with a deadline on 18Oct, and that other opportunities would be "strategic partnership" or "dedicated business" calls. Though, typical calls would expect to be in the range of 3-4 Million NOK supported funding, and not 46 million NOK as requested here.

Some concern by MFA is that pilot activities are often not part of the demand of the local government. Regarding education, the demand was to

  • answer specifically the demand by the government of ET
  • ensure education, which is different from just connectivity
  • explain how school-connectivity becomes part of the learning strategy ("læreplan")

MFA further pointed out the need for the strategy supporting the 10-years plan for education in ET, including national exams, and would like to see how school connectivity can contribute.

Topics like Internet and School Connectivity might become topics for the common support fund(?) ("felles giverfond"), supported by UNICEF, the World Bank, Finland, FCDO (UK) and Norway. Though, the basis for investments is the multi-annual work plan by the World Bank.

Josef addressed that the Governmental White Paper 9 (2019-2020) on "Digital Transformation and Development Policy" should be followed-up by activities, where school connectivity is a specific action contribution to the digital transformation. He envisaged Norway to influence the global giving fund for ET to focus on school connectivity, and will follow-up after having consulted with the MoE.