In an empowerment initiative aimed at rural and other areas of Tanzania where electricity supplies are scarce or absent, Vodacom Tanzania has announced that they are rolling out Vodadukas powered completely by solar energy.

'In places where people like without infrastructure such as electricity and good roads, we believe these mobile solar-powered units will have considerable impact on the standard of living and help create jobs,\' says Vodacom Tanzania?s Managing Director. Romeo Kumalo.

Similar to the now almost ubiquitous Simu ya Watu containers which offer calls to the general public for as little as 60/-, Vodaduka operators can generate profits by selling a variety of Vodacom products and services.

As well as being able to offer inexpensive public payphone service, pre-paid Vodacom vouchers, starter packs and phone-charging services will also be for sale.

Every aspect of the Vodaduka is designed around practical and accessible use for both user and operator.

Communities previously considered out of reach or whose business hours were restricted by power availability can now benefit from this innovative retail trading format.

Alphatel, one of the Vodacom's authorized super dealers, donated a Vodaduka to one Sofia Abdallah, a disabled resident of Dar es Salaam and a regular customer.

'As a disadvantaged member of society, Sofia now has a rare opportunity to be an entrepreneur which is a wonderful thing,' said Alphatel's General Manager, Salim Chandoo.

Installation costs are low, the containers are durable, secure and easy to maintain, and because they are mobile, can be relocated according to demand and convenience. Sofia will be the first owner of a Vodaduka in Dar es Salaam.

'Our slogan One Nation One Network really includes everybody in Tanzania. This is an ingenious way of using what is actually simple technology to ensure that no one is excluded,'said Kumalo.