Government, Airtel, and UNICEF join hands to accelerate digital learning in Tanzania.

The launch of the SmartWASOMI Initiative

31 May 2024
Government, Airtel, and UNICEF have launched a five-year initiative to accelerate the adoption of digital education across the country.
Creative Minds Africa
Government, Airtel, and UNICEF have launched a five-year initiative to accelerate the adoption of digital education across the country.

Tanga, 31 May 2024—Today, Airtel, in partnership with UNICEF and the Government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Education, launched the SmartWASOMI initiative. The project aims to accelerate the rollout of digital learning by providing free internet connectivity to schools in the country.

"This partnership is a major step forward for Tanzania. It aligns with our national vision of providing digital infrastructure for every child," said Honourable Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, during the launch. "I would like to thank Airtel and UNICEF for their support in making digital content accessible to children in urban and rural areas."

In 2022, Tanzania pledged to revolutionize education through digital initiatives at the Transforming Education Summit during the UN General Assembly. This commitment is reflected in the new education curriculum, which embraces digital literacy among students and teachers. Further to this effort, the Government has distributed 300,000 tablets to schools, demonstrating its dedication to advancing digital education.

"We are working closely with educational authorities, teachers, and local communities to ensure the successful implementation of this initiative," said Dinesh Balsingh, Managing Director of Airtel Tanzania. "Our vision for SmartWASOMI is rooted in the belief that education is a fundamental pillar for socio-economic development. We are excited about this project's potential to transform education in Tanzania, empowering the next generation of leaders and innovators. Together, we can create a more connected, informed, and empowered Tanzania, where every student can reach their full potential."

The SmartWASOMI initiative will leverage existing and new digital infrastructure to provide high-speed internet connectivity to public secondary schools through a national digital teaching and learning platform. The pilot phase of the project has already made significant strides, reaching 50 secondary schools across Zanzibar, Dodoma, and Mbeya. The digital learning platforms will deliver audio lessons and provide teachers and school management with teaching guides and content.

"Digital learning is a powerful tool that can transform education in Tanzania especially for excluded children and communities. Through the SmartWASOMI public-private partnership initiative the Government of Tanzania, UNICEF and Airtel are collaborating to ensure that teachers have access to modern learning methods and that no student, and no child is left behind," said Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative to Tanzania. "UNICEF will continue to work with the Government and partners like Airtel to develop an evidence-based digital learning strategy that supports the country's efforts to provide 21st-century education."

The partnership will provide digital learning tailored to individual needs, empowering children to unlock their full potential and thrive in today's economy. It aims to:

  • Bridge the digital divide by connecting schools to the internet and providing digital tools to every young person to access educational resources and opportunities.
  • Ensure the availability of accessible learning platforms to make digital learning sustainable and impactful. This involves reducing barriers to digital education content and zero-rating key platforms like the Tanzania Institute of Education and Shule Direct, enabling access without incurring data charges.
  • Champion digital education for children by advocating for Mobile Network Operators and other partners to play a vital role in enabling equitable access to quality education.

The SmartWASOMI initiative will run for five years and ensure digital education access to more than 3,000 schools across Tanzania. This launch is part of a broader global partnership between Airtel Africa and UNICEF aimed at accelerating digital learning in 13 countries across the African continent

Media contacts

Usia Ledama
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Tanzania
Tel: +255 762 871830
Jackson Mmbando
Head of Public Relations and CSR
Airtel Tanzania
Tel: +255 786 670 120

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/tanzania.

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