Connecting Africa

Through Connecting Africa, SOS Children’s Villages and British Telecom (BT) are bringing free broadband internet access to more than 100,000 people in 30 SOS Children’s Villages in 15 African countries via a global satellite. Part of BT’s global Better Future programme, Connecting Africa provides internet access, supports operations and critical communications, in addition to facilitating staff and community access to training, development and e-learning.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of people without internet access on the globe. As in many regions basic infrastructure is not in place, connectivity is a tremendous challenge. Local networks are either not available or of very poor quality. 
Connecting Africa bridges this gap. BT designs and builds the necessary network infrastructure. At the same time, BT engineers train SOS Children's Villages’ local IT support teams to maintain and operate this infrastructure, ensuring the project is sustainable in the long-term.

Building digital skills

But connectivity alone is only the first step to success. Building digital skills is equally important:

  • Connecting Africa enhances children’s education through e-learning courses and mentoring programmes developed by BT and SOS Children’s Villages. 
  • SOS Children’s Villages now runs its operations more efficiently and can better co-ordinate its facilities through Skype conferences, e-mail, online document repositories and other digital features. 
  • Internet access at home also enables SOS families to go online in their homes.

Enhanced healthcare systems

In partnership with British Telecom (BT), SOS Children's Villages’ medical staff in Africa has developed a Health Management System that will be implemented in seven different SOS Children’s Villages Medical Centres in Africa. A common Health Management System speeds up the patients’ journey and administrative tasks, from the moment they make an appointment to when they leave the healthcare facility.

In October 2016, British Telecom won the Broadband Changing Lives Award for Connecting Africa, considered a prestigious recognition of excellence in the Broadband Market Place.

As connectivity has improved in the regions where Connecting Africa has been implemented, a number of locations have sustained, independent access to the internet, meaning the number of locations can be reduced in 2018. ©

BT also supports learning activities for children through an Open Space Literacy in Kenya.