Shenzen-based tech giant, Huawei, will replicate its mobile, digital classroom, DigiTruck, in five more countries, including France and the Philippines, after the success of its programme in Kenya.
The repurposed semi-trailer truck,
which was trialled in Kenya, is designed to increase accessibility to digital
The DigiTruck Project is a collaboration between Huawei and Belgian non-profit, Close the Gap. The two firms launched the DigiTruck initiative in Kenya in September 2019. Since then, the mobile truck has help train more than 1 500 Kenyans in rural, hard-to-reach areas.
According to Deutsche Welle Akademie (DW), 51 million Kenyans have internet access with a 90% penetration rate. City-dwelling Kenyans experience 12-14mbps internet speeds, twice the global average.
Rural Kenyans, however, have little to no access to the internet and are being left behind. DW reported that 4G does not reach most of rural Kenya.
Outfitted with solar panels, 20 laptops, 20 VR headsets, and built-in internet, DigiTruck is designed to close the digital divide by offering a series of web-based digital literacy programmes delivered by Huawei-employed teachers.
While speaking at a webinar, Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu, outlined the company’s two-year plan to take the Digitruck initiative into France, the Philippines and three other yet to be disclosed countries.
Stone He, CEO of Huawei Kenya, said the DigiTruck programme was crucial in helping to better prepare Kenyan citizens to engage with the nation’s rapidly developing digital infrastructure. He highlighted the significant role mobile work would play in a post-Covid-19 world.
Huawei has launched a similarly named DigiSchool project in another African Belt and Road partner country, South Africa. A Huawei partnership including telecommunications company Rain and non-profit organisation, the Click Foundation, has connected 12 schools with 5G. The effort is part of a drive to outfit 100 schools in rural and urban areas with 5G.
Addressing digital exclusion is paramount to solving illiteracy in South Africa, said Nicola Harris, CEO of the Click Foundation.