By Monicah Muema
Samsung Electronics Africa has partnered with UNESCO in Tanzania to launch a multi-disciplinary programme that aims to provide and advance innovative community development strategies in health, education and socio-cultural and economic development.
The project, which is part of Samsung’s Corporate Citizenship strategy, will provide access to innovative healthcare and educational needs of the Maasai community in Ololosokwan, Ngorongoro District bordering the UNESCO World Heritage site and the world famous Serengeti ecosystem.
Launched on Saturday, the 29th of October 2016, the Digital Village consists of a Samsung Solar-Powered Internet School, a Samsung Solar-Powered Health Centre, a Solar-Powered Admin Centre, Solar Power Generator and a Solar Powered Tele-medicine Centre. The multi-donor event also marked the launch of a radio station, Loliondo FM, and the Community Art Space (CAS), a centre for the Maasai culture and crafts.
The Solar-Powered Internet School is built in a 12-metre repurposed container that can accommodate up to 24 learners, and is fitted with solar panels that power the equipment. An interactive whiteboard, Samsung Galaxy note PCs, a printer and fans to cool the container are also provided to aid both the teacher and learners.
The Solar Powered Health Centre will provide a variety of eye, ear, blood, dental and pre- and post-natal screening and treatments. A ‘Mother and Child’ centre will specifically provide medical services to mothers and their babies.
Ms. Patricia King’ori, Head of Marketing of Samsung Electronics East Africa said: “When people are healthy and educated, they can become active participants in the economy. Our partnership with UNESCO in this instance is notable in that we are fulfilling both of these needs with the Internet School and the Health Centre.”
Ms. Zulmira Rodrigues, Head of Office UNESCO Tanzania said: “The programme is specifically designed to benefit the remote communities of Tanzania that often lack access to even basic social services and struggle to attain cultural and environmental sustainability. It will be a platform for holistic community development for UNESCO sectors, government and other development partners.”
Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Mrisho Gambo, Regional Commissioner of Arusha Region said: “We appreciate the technology that has been brought to this village by Samsung. This technology will help the community, especially the women and children as they are the most vulnerable.”
A number of strategic development plans, including Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 plan, recognise that ICT is central to the country’s competitive social and economic transformation.
“These plans prioritise improved living standards, high-quality education and healthcare, decent work and better economic opportunities for citizens through public-private partnerships and through nurturing the skills and knowledge of the people.
They are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of achieving good health, wellbeing, quality education and clean energy, as well as decent work for all,” adds Ms. Kingori.