My name is Patricia Safi Lombo, I am Chief of Education at UNICEF Niger. The GIGA initiative is about really connecting all the schools in Niger to Internet and empowering young people, giving them the choice, opportunities and space, to really have access to education, to skills that they need to bounce back and thrive.
Giga is also about partnership, it is not UNICEF alone, it is not the government alone, it is really UNICEF playing a role as convening partner to ensure that we have all the supports to really expand education for all children wherever they are.
The connectivity is very poor in Niger and we also have as in other sectors a lot of inequities and also a lot of disparities among regions, and also between cities and rural areas, and sometimes boys have more access to connectivity compared to girls and also those who have access to connectivity have maybe better economic situation, so this is something that we have a lot of overlapping disparities regarding connectivity in Niger.
For the first time we know where schools are, using satellite technologies; for the first time we can know, we can really understand situations of schools: where they are, if they are accessible or not, and this gives the Ministry of Education the tools to plan and to really expand educations for all students and for all kids in Niger .
The stage, first of all we want to start with feasibility study, this gives us really the tools to plan and also to understand what do we need and the gaps, where are strengthening that we have, the opportunities that can be seized and also the gap to be filled ; and once we have that, the analysis of the situation, we can then mobilise all the resources to go to the mapping of all the schools, the second is the mapping of schools, and third one is really to make sure that all the partners are also involved beyond UNICEF to really support the government for interventions and skills.
What I would like to say is a lot of people when they think about Niger they don’t see hope but there is hope, there is smile, and we do think that it seems impossible, but will be done, and with GIGA we have the opportunity really to give another image of Niger and to really ensure that every child wherever he is can have access to education content like books something that can be taken from granted is a huge wealth in Niger.
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