Video: Internet for rural Segbwema, Sierra Leone
Rural Internet developments are the bread and butter of African progress. Individually, they connect fewer people than urban projects, but when combined, such projects reach an enormous portion of the population. Generally, smaller cities and towns face greater obstacles in seeking government support. Plus, they face a media disadvantage. For instance, which headline is expected to capture more attention, “Airtel Launches 3.75G network” or “Rural town seeks Internet access for library”?
Regardless, Association Internet & Développement is helping bring Internet to Segbwema town in eastern Sierra Leone. Since the end of the war in 2001, an impressive array of new services have been provided to the town of 8,000:
- hospital/nursing school
- community bank
- computer learning center
- primary/secondary schools with 4,000 students
- new library funded by state (to be ready in 2011 but still missing books)
However, Internet access in the town is still severely lacking. The library, for one, is scheduled to house an Internet café – as one local teacher calls it, “a blessing in disguise” to help reduce the digital divide. Teachers and town leaders fully support having Internet.
A video released by the group (via Thot Films) summarizes the outlook for Internet in Segbwema:
In August 2012, the Associate Internet & Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sierra Leone Library Board. This agreement forecasts the installation of Internet access in the 18 public libraries of the country, starting in 2013 and for an initial period of 5 years. The project should begin with the implementation of access in two pilot libraries, including the one in Segbwema. The other libraries should be equipped within the following year.
The initiative, to begin by summer 2013, is to provide free internet for 5 years with the hope the local or national government takes over. Nine computers are to be connected via modem connected to Sierratel 3G mobile network. Equipment from city of Kenema and Great Britain. Power will come via generator program.
Source: Vimeo via Thot (Thot Films)