What is Project Isizwe?

Posted by Olwethu on Wed, Jun 18 2014
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What is Project Isizwe?

Project Isizwe is a non-profit organisation created to bring the internet to South Africans, by smoothing the growth of the process of Free Wi-Fi for communal spaces in low income communities. The main objective of Project Isizwe is to provide a base for impoverished communities to have free internet access to use online educational facilities, facilitating free learning for those that cannot afford the cost of other forms of education. Isizwe has helped the Government plan and maintain Free Wi-Fi networks, serving to rapidly make a ‘multiplier effect’ on the financial system and create employment. The non-profit structure consents to group bandwidth, supply local installers, and work with Government exclusive of the excessive mark-ups.

‘Isizwe’ means nation in Xhosa. This initiative will be connecting the people of South Africa to one another and to the internet. Nowadays access to the internet should be considered an essential service, like water and electricity. It should be accessible to everyone, despite the circumstances that make us unique and different. We, as a country are placed at the bottom of the internet chain in terms of internet accessibility. This hinders corporate and individual economic development.

Project Isizwe intends to give all South Africans the ability to access information, education and jobs online. This initiative will hopefully bridge the digital divide and improve the image of the continent in the eyes of the global community.

How does it work?

It’s free wi-fi access with no login or passwords required. You connect, click and surf in municipal spaces such as libraries, sports and recreation centres, schools, universities, community centres and parks. Each user is given 250MB per day per device.

How can you help?

Similar projects have begun in the City of Tshwane and the suburb of Stellenbosch. Project Isizwe has partnered with telecommunications company Hero Telecoms to provide the hardware, installation, support and maintenance for all sites at costs that wouldn’t be possible in a regular commercial. Neotel has provided additional bandwidth at no cost as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

Businesses can take part by providing FIZ (a free Wi-Fi network node at a public access point) sites and bandwidth wherever possible. In the case of universities with large data centres, they can provide access to cached international websites, thereby lowering dependency on undersea cables and speeding up the Web in FIZs throughout the country.

The project does not do the following:

  • Isizwe does not cover affluent suburbs.
  • Does not do 3G nor broadband.
  • Does not sell advertising on their portal, networks are paid for by local government.
  • Does not charge a fee - low income communities need free Wi-Fi not affordable Wi-Fi.

Interested in being a part of Project Isizwe?

Project Isizwe offers internships in Network Development & Project Management, Marketing & Communications and Finance. The internship programme allows you to join the Project Isizwe team and learn what it takes to make Free Wifi a reality in Africa. For internship details please visit

http://projectisizwe.org/internships

To find out more information about Project Isizwe or donate to this initiative please visit

Donate

Project Isizwe Facebook Page

Project Isizwe Twitter Page

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