Non-governmental organizations

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a significant role in carrying out initiatives to establish school connectivity. They usually establish partnerships and alliances with national, regional, and local governments, international entities, telecommunication sector stakeholders, and the private sector. Although NGOs do not typically provide significant funding, they have been instrumental in coordinating and managing projects among different stakeholders.

Millions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide critical health, education, and economic development services in developing countries, and these NGOs are increasingly using advanced mobile devices, including 3G connected e-readers, to deliver such services. This creates a lot of exposure among potential government and business users, as well as consumers. Worldreader, for example, is using Kindle e-readers to deliver books and educational content to elementary and secondary school students in Ghana.

The Fundacion Omar Dengo in Costa Rica works with that country’s Ministry of Public Education to implement a national programme that focuses on providing access to digital technologies in schools in rural and socially vulnerable areas. The Fundacion, a non-profit private entity, has managed and executed national and regional projects and programmes that have brought together educational innovation and new technologies, benefitting 1.5 million people in Costa Rica since its inception in 1987.165

Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK) is modelled after the award-winning Computers for Schools Canada. CFSK distributes PCs in Kenyan schools, working through a partnership of communities, private sector corporations, civil society organizations, and international charities and development partners. CFSK has provided more than 50,000 personal computers in over 3,000 public and primary schools, technical training institutes, teacher training colleges, medical training centres and universities. CFSK also provides a preventive and curative maintenance programme for the computers, and has made available additional equipment such as electricity generators, as well as Internet access.

In addition, CFSK provides training for heads of schools and other administrators, teachers and tutors, and members of school boards and parents/teachers associations. CFSK also has developed digital multimedia teaching and learning resources specifically intended for the national secondary school curriculum, as well as software tools for school management. As a result of this project, an estimated 2 million young Kenyans have access to ICTs. 166

IICD is a non-profit foundation that specialises in ICTs as a tool for development. IICD is active in Africa and Latin America in education, governance, livelihoods, health and the environment. At present, IICD is supporting 32 education projects in seven countries, directly affecting more than 300,000 teachers and students and indirectly benefiting 1.3 million others. In Burkina Faso, for example, more than 100 teachers were taught how to build their own websites. They learned how to find new materials on the Internet, and to use video, web publishing and other applications to improve their lessons. A similar project in Bolivia trained teachers to create videos and CD-ROMs to support lessons in mathematics, languages and indigenous Bolivian culture. Its success inspired the Bolivian government to launch a national programme to put computer labs in 1,000 schools. 167

Worldreader is a US and European non-profit that gives access to digital books to children in developing countries. The organization donates e-readers with local and international e-books. As of June 2012, the organization had put over 220,000 e-books into the hands of 1,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa. The iREAD project was launched in Ghana in November 2010 as the first pilot study involving the classroom use of e-readers in the developing world. Interestingly, many of the books in the programme are from African publishers and authors. More recently, the organization partnered with two charitable organizations to bring Worldreader programmes to the Ntimigom School in Kilgoris, Kenya, and the HUMBLE School in Mukono, Uganda. The organization is also testing an additional platform that will enable them to extend the impact even further. With the Worldreader Book App for mobile phones, children can now even read digital books on a basic cellular phone. 168

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