Monday, Dec 11th

The Digital Village

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Students in the Internet School, part of the Digital Village in Ololosokwan, NgorongoroTanzania is a vast country and 68% of Tanzanians live in rural settings. The provision of specialized health and digital literacy education services in rural and remote settings is virtually very challenging. Limiting factors include shortage of skilled health workers and scarcity of educational IT equipment as well as access to the mobile network. The fast evolving world of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) offers great potential for extending both health and educational services to remote and rural locations.

UNESCO, in collaboration with Samsung Electronis, created the first Digital Village in Tanzania, in Ololosokwan, Ngorongoro district.  This is a multidisciplinary ICT innovation programme coordinated by the UNESCO and supported by partners including Samsung Electronics, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, and the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, with participants at national, regional and local levels.

The Digital Village programme was initiated in 2014 with UNESCO and Samsung Electronics entering into a partnership. Samsung donated medical and learning technologies with a value of $1 million. The programme has also received funding from the United Nations Development Assistance Programme (UNDAP I) and the Government of Finland.

The Digital Village consists of a digital health innovation platform or a ‘Digital Clinic’ where novel digital health concepts are piloted, such as the tele-consultations for maternal health in which MUHAS provides long distance maternal health medical expertise to doctors at Ololosokwan for the benefit of expectant mothers. Furthermore, the lessons learned in tele-medicine are used to inform the national guidelines on tele-medicine, which are currently being developed by the government of Tanzania. In addition to Ololosokwan dispensary, Wasso, Mt. Meru, KCMC, and Muhimbili National Hospital and MUHAS Academic Medical Centre (MAMC) are participating in this pilot, representing different levels of care in the referral system.

The digital Village also hosts an Internet School that is located within 1 kilometre distance from the health unit. The digital school consists of a fully equipped IT class, smart board server and a tablet library. The Internet School is used by two primary and one secondary school for both literacy, numeracy and digital skills training. All facilities are solar powered for sustainable energy supply and installed in portable shipping containers.

Close collaboration with the village and district officials, and the local community enables a localized and a needs-based approach. Gradual hand-over to local partners, and integration within the existing health and educational structures, ensure long-term sustainability.