Zain South Sudan partners with Huawei and UNESCO to power Internet connectivity for schools


Zain South Sudan, the leading operator in the country, and Huawei, a leading global technology solutions provider, have teamed-up with UNESCO to provide Internet access to a number of schools in South Sudan powered via Zain base stations. This is the first project of its type in South Sudan, with the first phase of the initiative resulting in over 3,000 school children gaining access to the Internet for the first time.

The official launch ceremony for the project was held at Juba Technical Secondary School under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Telecommunications, Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi, along with Zain South Sudan CEO Mr Basel Manasrah, UNESCO Country Representative Mr Salah Khaled, Huawei South Sudan CEO Mr Tommy Hu Zhenyu, as well as senior representatives from Zain and Huawei.

Zain South Sudan supplies power and connectivity for the project, allowing schools within a 100-meter radius from its base station to gain Internet access. Four schools – St. Thomas Nursery & Primary School, A.I.C. Merkolong Local Church Nursery & Primary School, Buluk B Primary School, and Juba Technical Secondary School – have been selected to participate in the first phase of the project, which will see Zain’s core network accessed to provide connectivity to the Internet with 1GB data per month per computer for each of the schools.

Huawei is Zain’s predominate technology provider in South Sudan and Huawei’s role in this project includes the furbishing of computer laboratories, providing five computers and tables to each school, maintaining the computers, and offering school personnel basic computer training.

UNESCO’s partnership in the initiative comes with the objective to use the opportunity Zain and Huawei have provided by linking the schools to the internet, thus enabling the integration of selected primary and secondary schools in South Sudan into the UNESCO Associated Schools Programme Network (ASPNet) in neighboring countries. The UNESCO ASPNet constitutes a global network of schools partnering in the development of Environmental Sustainability Projects and Peace Building Initiatives by their students, through innovative and technological platforms, allowing interaction and exchange of ideas among students and youths regionally and globally. UNESCO is committed to the provision of technical support for the establishment of quality key educational, cultural, and media institutions as it is one of its main priorities for its program in South Sudan for 2014-2016.

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services South Sudan, Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi Rebecca addressed the students of Juba Technical School, “Technology is a tool for education, and this facility is here to further your education and I encourage you to not abuse it. I want you to think outside the box, and use this opportunity to see how technology is changing lives in the world”

Zain South Sudan CEO, Basel Manasrah said, “We are extremely committed to social development in the markets in which we operate, and this project lends itself to two areas – youth and education – which are very close to our hearts. Zain is dedicated to the development of South Sudan as a country, and there is no better way to aid this than through working with the youth and equipping them with the tools necessary to grow up to become successful, contributing members of society.”

Manasrah continued, ”This type of project is a first for Zain and a first for South Sudan, and I think it comes with a great deal of potential to expand Internet connectivity more widely and more rapidly. In a country as young as South Sudan, the impact of our corporate social responsibility efforts resonates that much further, and we shall continue to identify worthy initiatives to become involved in.”

On his part, Tommy Hu Zhenyu , Huawei’s Country Manager for South Sudan said, “Education is a process of acquiring relevant knowledge, skills, and values for knowing, asserting and vindicating one’s rights. This implies that education is an empowerment tool, and is therefore a positive development in the lives of young people. We are honored to partner Zain and play our part in the positive transformation of this society, starting from its foundation, which is the youth of the country.”

The UNESCO Country Representative Salah Khaled stated: “UNESCO is privileged to partner with Zain on this project, which is part of the range of environmental and peace educational programs and training material that we provide to benefit peace building initiatives and the youth in South Sudan.”

Source: AME  8 September 2014