Few Nigerien schools are connected to the Internet. There is limited information on both school location and coverage status; however, estimates suggest over 8,500 schools are within 10km of 3G, 4G or fixed broadband.
Number of connected & unconnected schools: Ministry of Education, Niger, 2019
Schools present an opportunity to target investment, reach unconnected communities, and boost economic activity.
In partnership with the Government of Niger, Giga has identified several activities to support the cost-effective connection of 19,355 schools. By doing so, we have estimated a $525M (+1.8%) growth in GDP.
Through Smart Villages and investment in Digital Public Goods (DPGs) the Government aims to ensure digital learning for in- and out-of-school youth
Expanding Connectivity through Smart Villages
Launched in August 2018 by the Government of Niger and its partners (ITU, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, WB) the Smart Villages program aims to expand internet access to digitally-enabled services in education and other sectors (health, agriculture, commerce etc.)
Ecosystem Investment in DPGs
The National Agency for the Information Society (ANSI) seeks to deliver digital services for education, health, e-Government, digital businesses. A growing number of SMEs and incubators are innovating and creating DPGs that align with government initiatives.
Focusing on Equitable Outcomes for Out of School Youth
School connectivity has the potential to transform learning but also provide access for youth who are not directly within the school system – through community use. Support could transform educational outcomes for out of school youth and girls. Girls in Niger are more likely to be out of school, less likely to complete secondary school and have on average low literacy levels.
Giga can support the Government of Niger in their existing smart village program, maximizing school benefits. Some of Giga’s priority areas for collaboration in Niger include:
Using Project Connect mapping to more accurately deploy connectivity and create efficiencies in the roll-out of Smart Villages.
Onboarding Niger as a Digital Public Goods Alliance Pathfinder, identifying areas of public services that need open source solutions.
Working with ISPs and MNOs to identify opportunities to reduce data costs for schools and students.
From schools to communities
Schools are often the centre of communities. Giga hopes to explore sustainable models to use the school as a hub to connect people in the local community. This initiative will support the Nigerien Government’s aim to drive economic growth through digitization by expanding access to connectivity.