Our installations in the villages in Tanzania were performed in Mar/Apr2019, being:
- Esilalei, Arusha District, our first installation, using a solar powered (120W package) bringing light and connectivity to the community centre
- Migoli, Iringa District - connecting the Nyerere High School, and from there the Community Office and the Dispensary,
- Izazi, Iringa, District - see also our Blog on It takes 90 min to connect a village
- Selela, Arusha District - connecting the market place to the mobile tower being more than 20 km away
- Patandi Teachers College, outside of Arusha - providing Wifi on the campus and establish an affordable Internet connection
- Chiwanda Secondary School is at Chiwanda village in Nkangamo Ward, Tunduma Township Authority - in collaboration with BOACSE https://plus.codes/RH79+CP
- Chikanamlilo Secondary School in Halmashauri, Momba - in collaboration with BOACSE
- Mkuranga District, in the North-East of Tanzania - in collaboration with African Child at Kiparang'anda and Mwanambaya
- Youth Centre Mpanda - Katavi, connected by the Usevya Development Society (UDESO) in November 2019 https://plus.codes/V6RP+MC
- Usevya village, Secondary School, Youth Center and Health Center in collaboration with Usevya Development Society (Eden)
- Kimande, Iringa District to be connected in 2020
- Idodi, Iringa District to be connected in 2020
Kenya, Techbridgeinvest partner:
- Tsunguni village, at a retail shop. It is about 300m from Tsunguni Primary School. It is within Kilifi County near Mombasa City in Kenya. https://plus.codes/5MF9+XM Kaloleni - through collaboration with Tech Bridge Invest
- Guinea (in collaboration with Orange and Global fund https://www.theglobalfund.org/fr/)
- Ghana, Suhut-Atwina (Yayra Glover - Kakao World)
- Collaboration with Zabai on Schools in Myanmar
From the connection of the first villages, we achieved excellent results:
- In each village we find people having a tremendous People in the villages
Standard poles come in the length of 6 m, which is sufficient for connectivity to reach the mobile network tower being more than 20 km away (case Selela market), or being hidden by the landscape (case Izazi). In addition, the 6 m poles reach up to 2-3 km point-to-multipoint connectivity in rural Tanzania.
In case of larger distances, our solution is to extend to 9 m high poles on the site of the sector antenna (case Migoli), allowing a line-of-site over the top of the trees. In case of the Izazi Dispensary, we used a 9 m pole at the governmental building, and added a 6 m pole at the dispensary.
Villages to be connected
- Kimande, Iringa District - Baseline in Apr2019 - ready to be connected in early 2020
- Idodi, Iringa District - Baseline in Apr2019 - ready to be connected in early 2020
- (Mungere (Lat -3.3178, Long 35.892))
- Mbaash - has potential for 3G connectivity at the dispensary
- Mkuranga District - Baseline in June2019 - ready to be connected in Aug. 2019
- further villages, if requested (and installed) from collaboration with NGOs
Achievements, Lessons learned and Recommendations
We would like to thank our collaboration partners in Tanzania. Through the combined effort of the government (Ministry of Health, Universal Communication Service Access Funds (UCSAF), National Institute for Medical Research), Academia (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Muhumbili University), Mobile Operators (especially Tigo and Vodacom), and the communities we achieved our goals of bringing “free access to information for everyone”.
After two years of operation, the following was achieved:
- we connected villages which were “impossible to connect” Izazi and Selela, where we extended the 3G network from typically 7-9 km to 22 km (Selela), or reached to a village behind a mountain ridge (Izazi).
- we established an infrastructure costing about € 1000 for the equipment and the configuration.
- we brought free information to schools Migoli: Nyerere High School, Market places Selela market, governmental buildings Izazi and will connect dispensaries Izazi Dispensary and Migoli village centre, in total we connect 10 villages/schools.
- we achieved tremendous positive feedback from the society. Does not matter where, we were welcome and got all the support we wanted. ‘’Everyone recognised the value of free access to information’’.
- We have already three communities (African Child, Bayama Orphanage and Community Services (BOACSE), Usevya Development Society (UDESO)) who picked up the ideas for connectivity, and established rural
- The mobile operators (Tigo and Vodacom) were very helpful in offering fair deals for the pilots, and involved us in their plans.
- National institutions like UCSAF with Justina Mashiba and Albert Richard fully supported us with background information to perform the roll-out.
- our input to the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation is well reflected by the recommendations (especially 1A and 1B) and the mentioning of our work:
- Recommendation 1A: We recommend that by 2030, every adult should have affordable access to digital networks, as well as digitally-enabled financial and health services, as a means to make a substantial contribution to achieving the SDGs…
- Recommendation 1B: We recommend that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, ….
- Our claim on seeing recommendations 1A and 1B in conjunction, by providing "'free access to digital public goods, is reaching more and more attention.
- On the global scale, we started a discussion on "lightweight digital public goods" and the free access to this lightweight information with actors lite ITU and UNICEF.
- Capacity building is key of “Internet Lite for All”, with a village server with free access to information and apps to download
- Through the "Digital Inclusion" (DigI) project we reached tremendous interest, resulting in both academic presentation, but also invitations to ITU, the African Innovation Week, and other international events. See DigI Publications
- early results from the medical intervention using video and animations to inform the local communities show outstanding results in health knowledge uptake.
Recommendations and Future Work
Though, there are lot’s of areas still in need to be elaborated
- Adopting the Nordic model of 1 contract with up to 6 SIM cards and a combined data package to create a better base for the information spots,
- A framework for establishing and operating information spots in the villages. In a country being as big as Tanzania, the business model of operators does not allow a coverage of mobile broadband everywhere. Thus, combining mobile network with information spots is an excellent opportunity for digital inclusion, but is currently not addressed in the framework for mobile licenses.
- the distribution of vouchers and the costs for video. Currently, data packages cost 30.000-35.000 TZS for 10 GB data per month. Given that a video of 1 hour typically consumes 1 GB, that means that 1 video costs 3.500 TZS, which is beyond reach for the majority of people. Though, a solution might address sponsorship or social sharing of video content to the local village spot.
- Empower the communities to extend the access to information
- the development of the village platform enabling local communities to contribute to knowledge creation.
- The framework for governmental involvement,
- transferring the existing information into digital information and
- focus on new business models for free access to information, involving communities and mobile operators.