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UNICEF Corporate and Philanthropic Partnerships


Ericsson partners with UNICEF to help map school connectivity in 35 countries

© UNICEF/UNI232328/Noorani

In July 2020, Ericsson entered into a global three-year partnership with UNICEF to help map school connectivity in 35 countries. Mapping the internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities is a critical first step towards providing every child with access to digital learning opportunities.

This joint effort is part of the Giga initiative. Launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Giga aims to connect every school to the internet. 

Ericsson is the first private sector partner to make a multi-million dollar commitment to the initiative and is the first to become a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping.

According to the ITU, 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet. Many of these are young people in low- and middle-income countries. This results in exclusion, fewer resources to learn, and limited opportunities for the most vulnerable children and youth to fulfill their potential. Improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity, and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.

The partnership is a timely response to the deepening digital divide and an education crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures, coupled with limited or non-existent opportunities for remote learning, have upended children’s education worldwide. The partnership with Ericsson aims to accelerate UNICEF’s efforts to give every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities.

© UNICEF/UNI232306/Noorani

In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping. Specifically, Ericsson will assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data. The data generated through the mapping will enable governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable learning for children and young people. Ericsson will also engage its extensive customer base to further advance the goals of the Giga initiative.

The UNICEF-Ericsson partnership also contributes to the Generation Unlimited Global Breakthrough on Digital Connectivity that aims to give young people digital skills so they can fully and meaningfully participate in the digital economy. Generation Unlimited is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people. Additionally, the partnership supports UNICEF’s recent COVID-19 Agenda for Action in which the organization called for global action to keep children learning, thereby requiring the prioritization of internet connectivity in rural and remote areas.

Follow progress and see current school mapping efforts at www.projectconnect.world. Or, for more information on this important initiative and how to get involved, please visit www.gigaconnect.org.

Listen to a podcast interview with Heather Johnson, Head Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, and Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships at UNICEF, about how the partners are accelerating school connectivity.





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