Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS will deploy a solution to provide Internet access in rural areas of developing countries, allowing to improve the quality of life of the communities and to reduce the Digital Divide. During one week, a team of professionals did the site surveying on the Zambézia province, where the project Sustainable Villages for Development in Mozambique (SV4D-MZ) will be implemented.
Most villages in remote areas of developing countries still have no access to broadband Internet services, which limits their social and economic capacity to grow. Many applications can solve particular problems in these villages, but they depend on Internet. Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, in partnership with Association of Communications and Telecommunications Regulators of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (ARCTEL-CPLP) and National Communications Institute of Mozambique (INCM), is working on the first pilot of sustainable villages for development with broadband Internet access. The districts of Mocuba and Alto Molócuè, in the Zambézia province, are going to receive different ‘Praças Digitais’ within the context of this project.
While some citizens in these locations have smartphones and hold enough knowledge to use the technology and understand its purpose, the majority of the population is completely illiterate when it comes to the use of technology. A doctor’s appointment or the access to e-books are just two examples of services that can be implemented over the communication infrastructure provided by SV4D-MZ, allowing any user to easily access services, independently on the technological literacy level. The Sustainable Villages for Development will allow citizens the contact with Internet, proving that the barrier between digital devices and information access can be overcome. Besides that, the quality of life of these populations will be improved.
The site survey is the first step of the project. High user density locations, like schools, formation centres, university campus, hospitals and markets, are among the places considered for deployment of ‘Praças Digitais’, which will provide Internet connectivity to the citizens of Mocuba and Alto Molócuè. Research and Development (R&D) solutions can be then tested and implemented, applying Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and projects like Malaria Scope, Epidemiologic Surveillance, Hydroponic Farming and ACP Street Libraries can be adapted and deployed.
The SV4D-MZ team was presented to the local authorities, in order to understand the particular needs of rural areas in Mozambique. The purpose of these meetings was to adapt the project to the real conditions of the places, aiming to increase the success rate of the implementation.