The pandemic has highlighted the importance of universal connectivity.

Giga is supporting the immediate response to COVID-19, as well as looking at how connectivity can create stronger infrastructures of hope and opportunity in the "time after COVID."

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a climate that poses a colossal threat, now and in the future, to children and their families—a grim reality especially compounded among children already affected by poverty, disability, or social exclusion.

Experts predict that, given high contagion risks and the time needed to develop and distribute a vaccine, COVID-19 is poised to be a long-term global health and welfare crisis. The global school shutdowns and health crisis exacerbate already challenging realities for lower-income countries: with the limited or non-existent infrastructure to connect to distance learning and essential services, their current education and economic stability as well as future opportunities and welfare are significantly set back. 

This current situation proves how critical it is to now accelerate connectivity, online learning and other initiatives for children and their communities, and drive economic stimulus.

On 19 January 2017 in Jordan, two adolescent girls use a cellphone outside a solar kiosk in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees, in Mafraq Governorate, near the Syrian border. The kiosk – supported by worldwide solar energy provider SOLARKIOSK AG; systems and services provider SES Techcom Services (an affiliate of global satellite operator SES); and UNICEF – provides internet connectivity and is equipped with tablets and computers. It also serves as a charging station for cellphones and other electronics equipment, and as an e-learning centre for children and youths in the camp. More than 80,000 people currently shelter in the Za’atari camp. Over half of them are children.

Primero is an open source technology platform enabling governments, aid agencies and social service workers to provide life-saving services and conduct case management for most vulnerable children was launched by key players in the humanitarian sector including UNFPA, UNHCR, the International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, and UNICEF in February 2017. Primero was created as a case management tool that enables social workers in the field to manage children displaced by conflict and provide them with a means to access basic services including family reunification in their host communities. In response to humanitarian crisis Primero is preparing for scale in humanitarian settings in host communities Lebanon, Jordan and the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Primero is also being adapted and deployed for the case management of most vulnerable children in non-humanitarian contexts, more broadly. It is a highly configurable web application and mobile app that can run on a laptop, a privately-hosted server, or in a managed cloud environment enabling case workers on the move in refugee camps and in remote locations. As an open source tool Primero’s code is publically available and encourages further application for children in communities displaced by conflict and crisis, and in

The Giga team has accelerated work on key initiatives, with a focus on providing connectivity and necessary services to 13 high-impact countries in the months between April and September.

Critical Software and Content:

Through a network of partners, Giga will facilitate the deployment of telework, tele-education, tele-health, and financial services at low cost, scale, and adapted to local languages. Giga works with the Digital Public Goods Alliance to identify open source solutions in these areas.

Broadband Connectivity:

We’re developing a comprehensive strategy to: map unserved schools; develop better and/or new financing programs to bring together diverse public and private funding; initiate large-scale procurement; and improve transparency in monitoring.

Digital Financial Services:

Since Giga will use public blockchains for monitoring and managing payments, we are able to work with governments and providers to explore how connectivity infrastructure can also lead to extensions of online banking and electronic financial networks, potentially enhancing the efficiency and accountability of government programs that disseminate payment.


Moving full-speed to connect every school, raising public and private funding to connect every school by putting forward several countries as “accelerated” actors in Giga. Current focus countries are Rwanda, Kenya, Niger, Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.


            In these countries Giga will:

    • Share key open-source remote education tools, as well as innovations in software, learning systems, and content that support tele-worktele-education, tele-health, and financial services.

    • Use data that is generated, for example, about school location, to provide additional insights to partners engaged in emergency response.

    • Work with telecommunication / connectivity partners to use their networks and services to immediately connect disconnected schools.

    • Create financing packages for national
      and helping match with possible financing partners.