Orange Digital Schools projects launched

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Digital Education is a major area of support of the Orange Foundation in Botswana and abroad. The project initially brought to light in 2014, Orange Foundation continues to invite applications to submit projects aligned to the Digital Education theme.

This is an initiative from Orange which aims at keeping the theme of digital inclusion in schools alive. According to Boga Chilinde-Masebu, Orange Botswana PR and Foundation Manager, ‘the Orange Call for the Digital Schools project is a Group initiative with the objective to provide free educational content in digital format for primary and secondary students in Africa.’

‘’Primarily, the project offers the schools with a digital kit that includes a mini server of educational content connected to tablets that the children use for instant access to hundreds of items of essential content and books from the school curriculum. The programme is delivered in partnership with the Education ministries of each country who are instrumental in identifying the most appropriate school text books for their pupils, which is then uploaded into the kit.

She added that “The program has already been rolled out in 12 countries by the Orange Foundations and affiliates – France, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Niger, Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Mali, Guinea, Egypt and Jordan - covering 500 schools, benefiting more than 130,000 children.  With the right submissions, we are hoping to add Botswana to the beneficiaries list.”

This year, the call for projects focuses on extending this program to new schools, as in previous years, and also on improving the program in already opened schools. These proposals for improvement will focus on four topics: the replacement of defective equipment, the training of teachers and students in the use of the digital kit and its content, the enrichment of the local offer of content for the digital kit, and the electrification of schools.

‘’Interested participants should have posted their projects between 01/18/2017 and 02/28/2017, and they can do so by completing the on-line questionnaire as well as attaching the description of your project.’’

Meanwhile, on the same vein, the same company is calling for women to come out of the closet and take a place in the male dominated tech space. Orange is also calling   women for the ‘’Women Digital Centres projects which orange is launching in 2017.

‘’The call for projects to support the establishment of Women’s Digital Centres. The Women’s Digital Centres are designed to offer support to NGOs who fight for women’s empowerment through professional integration and economic independence,’’ explained Boga Chilinde-Masebu.

She added that the digital centres ‘’are designed to offer basic modules based on the specific needs of women supported by digital tools. The modules also aim to promote women’s digital inclusion by making them familiar with digital devices and basic software.’’

The program is targeted at women in disadvantaged situations who normally have limited access to educational opportunities. The program will be implemented in rural and urban environments. The Centres will receive computers, tablets, video projector, printer and USB keys for each woman to save their daily work (1 per woman) ‘’This call for projects is only open to countries where the Orange group is present.

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