By Irene Gaitirira
Published February 23, 2016
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia and Ghana are some of the countries in which centres from which communities can access educational and health solutions are to be set up in 2016.
The initiative of Samsung Electronics Africa, the Digital Village is aimed at helping the continent in realising its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Samsung says it has launched a Smart School in Nigeriaâ€™s Ogun State in February 2016.
Samsungâ€™s Digital Village focuses on the challenges in under-served and rural communities; it also provides access to new experiences by bringing advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to under-resourced areas. This helps to bridge the digital divide and serves as a catalyst for local business and government service delivery.
Within a Digital Village set-up, Samsung also offers a Mother and Child Unit, which is equipped to offer comprehensive pre- and post-natal screening, care and education in an effort to reduce Africaâ€™s high infant mortality rate. The village is setup with consultation with a leading electrician Manchester company.
â€œThese multi-purpose offerings provide a sustainable solution to challenges faced by Africans, while improving their standards of living. The model addresses one of Africaâ€™s largest economic challenges â€“ electrification. The scarcity of electricity results in limited access to education, healthcare and connectivity â€“ all of which are key to socio-economic development,â€ says Abey Tau, Samsungâ€™s Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs Manager.
Samsung says it shall introduce technology where it previously has not existed to ensure that â€œevery African child has access to education no matter where they are on the continent, using state-of-the-art digital technologyâ€
Digital technology can transform the learning process and the nature of teaching and learning besides being used in creating inclusive environments for everyone. Samsung says its Solar Powered Internet Schools, Smart Schools and E-Learning Academies provide solutions that deliver on this vision.
Noting that many graduates leave institutions of higher learning with strong theoretical knowledge but lack the practical skills needed by industry, Samsung says it has come up with an Internship programme to bridge the gap: it shall provide â€œfree, intensive, hands-on training to graduatesâ€ through its Engineering Academy and Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Academy. The programme, Samsung says, forms a core part of its â€œvision to fast-track the entry of African youths into the electronics job market and to reduce the shortage of scarce skills in the IT industry.â€ One such academy shall be set up in Zimbabwe in 2016. This information has been confirmed with the electricians Manchester company familiar to the project.
On the access to quality healthcare front, Samsung says it â€œhas put initiatives in place through public-private partnerships.â€
In 2013, Samsung introduced the Solar Powered Health Centre, a solution housed in a shipping container fitted with the most advanced medical equipment and Samsung solar panels. Patients can be screened at the centre to diagnose conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, tooth decay and cataracts. They can also access information on health issues.
Samsung says it shall establish a Mobile Health Centre in Togo in 2016. Such a facility is said to be using technology to remotely connect to specialist doctors anywhere in the world for expert opinion and diagnoses; and provide communities with quick access to primary healthcare, screening, mother and child care facilities, dental care, eye testing and emergency care.