Education in sub-Saharan AfricaThe Vodafone Foundation recently announced their new program called Instant Schools for Africa which focuses on improving education in sub-Saharan Africa. The program aims to reach 5 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania, providing them with free access to online learning.

The Instant Schools for Africa will provide children and young people with online access to educational materials that are completely free, and comes without mobile data charges. Those unable to access the internet will also be able to use the program offline. The subjects that are included in the material are math and science from primary to advanced levels. Charitable giving, along with technology, is how the Vodafone Foundation aids young people at their 27 locations around the world.

The Vodafone Foundation hopes to improve education in sub-Saharan Africa by targeting children who are typically excluded from a standard education. The overall mission of the Vodafone Foundation is to support global projects that are working towards benefiting areas with health, education, and disaster relief. The foundation uses technology to help those who need it.

Currently, the Vodafone Foundation has a program similar to Instant Schools for Africa, called Vodacom e-school, which provides 215,000 children with access to education. The need for these programs is in high demand, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, as it holds the lowest rate of primary school enrolment across the world. Over one-fifth of children, ranging in age from six to 11, are not in school, while 60 percent of children between 15 and 17 are also not in school.

With Instant Schools for Africa, the Vodafone Foundation is expanding their current education program. Their program is considered one of the largest philanthropic programs, with over 25 years of aid. While the program is expanding, they are planning to keep the already running program, Vodacom e-school.

Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

Mobile Technology Transforms HIV Care in Lesotho
In the small, mountainous African country of Lesotho, one in four people are HIV-positive, but the rugged terrain and negative stigma surrounding the disease prevent many from seeking care or even being diagnosed. However, with the introduction of a new cellphone app and mobile health clinics, the HIV healthcare in Lesotho will change drastically.

With mountains separating the various regions of the country and minimal infrastructure, many people in Lesotho cannot access basic healthcare services. It is for this reason that many people who are HIV-positive go undiagnosed and unknowingly spread the disease to their partners or children. This year, only 60 percent of those with HIV in Lesotho received treatment.

More than half of the country’s two million people live below the poverty line. Moreover, insufficient HIV care in Lesotho has led the country to the second-highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the world.

Mobile clinics run by the Vodafone Foundation, Baylor International AIDS Initiative and Riders for Health, will ensure that all people in Lesotho can get treatment closer to home. The clinics offer on-site HIV testing.

Those who test positive for HIV are registered with Vodafone’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, where they receive funds to pay for transport to a treatment center. They are also registered with another mobile app which serves as a central database where healthcare professionals can plan and record their treatment in real time.

There were 36.7 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide in 2015. In the same year, 1.1 million people died from the disease.

Infants are especially vulnerable to HIV, and the disease can quickly develop into AIDS if not identified and treated. Around the world, only half of infants with HIV are tested by the recommended age of two months.

The app and mobile clinics have been applauded by the Government of Lesotho, which will fully fund both programs from mid-2017.

Cassie Lipp

Photo: Flickr