Over 1,350 PCs have been installed in 70 ICT labs, 15 of which were built from scratch.
What links 225 ICT-trained teachers, 70 computer labs and 44 Raspberry Pis? Answer: they are all outcomes from the work of the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation. The Foundation was developed in 2014 under the guidance of the SITA Council with the aim of ‘Providing ICT and education to young people in Africa’.
This is in response to the growing youth population, the skills gap in ICT and the opportunities for technology and aviation that the African continent presents. To date, more than 80,000 children have benefited from the projects that the Foundation has supported, with girls representing over 51% of that number.
The first projects to roll out were around primary schools in Ethiopia, secondary schools in Uganda and tertiary education in South Africa. Working with charity partners Computer Aid International, Promoting Equality in Africa Schools (PEAS) and the Foundation for the University of the Witwatersrand that scope has now grown to include Zambia and Zimbabwe, and there have been some impressive achievements.
Over 1,350 PCs have been installed in 70 ICT labs, 15 of which were built from scratch. And the use of Raspberry Pis containing 64GB of educational data for students and teachers has brought much needed access to content – particularly in remote areas.
One of the key success criteria for the programs is working with local partners in the countries where the projects run, including World Link and the Computer Society of Zimbabwe. They help assess the right schools to receive the equipment, install, and maintain it.
Many of the teachers are using ICT in education for the first time, so the Foundation funds International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) training, providing them with key skills and a network of fellow teachers, as well as a lifelong license for further learning.
14 students have graduated to date from Wits University in Johannesburg thanks to the funding they received for studies across aeronautical engineering, information systems, and electrical engineering.
One of the success stories is Makhosaza Moyo, a young Zimbabwean woman studying Aeronautical Engineering. Faced with the prospect of having to drop out despite her class-topping marks, the Foundation stepped in to help.
She explained: “I wish to succeed in my career and … I want to be a philanthropist so that I can show the same kindness to others that SITA Foundation showed to me. There are no words to describe my gratitude.” Since completing her BSc she is now continuing at Masters level, funded by the Foundation.
Each of the programs supported aligns to a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Quality Education and Gender Equality. Other goals include Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – providing access to technology, Decent Work and Economic Growth – through the use of local companies and workers, and Affordable and Clean Energy – thanks to the implementation of solar power. Using the SDGs as a framework ensures the Foundation contributes to the long-term success and positive impacts of the programs it delivers in Africa.