United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF and Airtel have launched a five-year partnership to accelerate digital learning through connecting 100 primary and secondary government schools in marginalized communities to learning platforms.

The launch is part of an African partnership that will benefit learners in the countries of Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

In Uganda, 200,000 in and out of school learners are targeted. The out of school beneficiaries will benefit from the partnership through community youth centres in districts where UNICEF is implementing interventions for the most marginalized children.

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The partnership aims to champion digital education advocacy to reform policies and frameworks through data insights and the promotion of tools and platforms and increase access to educational content through access without the need for data (zero-rating) learning platforms, including Learning Passport.

The partnership will see the roll-out of digital learning by connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms in Uganda and other Airtel Africa Operating Countries.

Through this collaboration, Airtel and UNICEF are committed to leveraging technology to promote inclusive and equitable learning opportunities in underserved areas helping to build a brighter and more promising future for young people.

Representing the Airtel Uganda Managing Director, Manoj Murali, the Chief Commercial Officer at Airtel Uganda, Amit Kapur said, “UNICEF has been a principal advocate in the well-being of children and young people, through championing initiatives that call for access to quality education, good health, among other elements that support their upbringing.”

“As Airtel Uganda, we collaborate with other stakeholders who participate in humanitarian activities like what UNICEF is doing, and today, we are pleased to announce that together with UNICEF we aim to scale-up digital learning for children across Uganda,” he said.

Technology for Development Manager at UNICEF Patrick Mutumbo said, “UNICEF’s partnership with Airtel Africa to expand access to digital learning is an equalizer in supporting the needs of every child in Uganda. The existing digital divide denies the most marginalized children equal access to education. It leaves children, particularly girls from the poorest households and rural communities further behind, with little opportunity to catch up with peers in urban settings in Uganda.”

As a key service provider in the telecommunications space, Airtel Uganda has built a 100% 4G network that covers the whole country, and through teaming up with partners like UNICEF, a 5-year partnership which is part of Airtel’s long-term commitment to building Uganda’s next important human resources has been launched.

The partnership also seeks to champion digital education advocacy to reform policies and frameworks through data insights and the promotion of tools and platforms. Beyond digital learning, the Airtel Cares program supports transformative initiatives in health, agriculture, and education to reduce the burden of inequality in Uganda. Initiatives in maternal health, supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS, Sickle Cells and Fistula are some of the other interventions.

“The launch of this initiative is a highlight of UNICEF’s commitment to every child’s education,” Mutumbo said.

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