Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is making his first appearance at Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, Spain), the telecom industry’s biggest global trade show, this week, and the social network’s Internet.org organisation has used the show to announce a number of new projects to help increase global Internet connectivity.
The organisation has announced SocialEDU, its first pilot project which will provide students in Rwanda with access to what Facebook calls “a collaborative online education experience” via mobile.
Facebook and Nokia — which are both members of Internet.org — have teamed up with the Government of Rwanda and two domestic carriers to provide free access to educational content on “low-cost” smartphones.
According to Internet.org, the programme will be comprised of five steps:
1. EdX will work with Facebook to create an educational app that is integrated with Facebook.
2. Airtel will provide free education data for students in Rwanda who participates in the program for a year
3. Nokia will provide “affordable” smartphones
4. The Government of Rwanda is offering financial support for students to purchase devices and also extending its free WiFi programme to cover the country’s university campuses
5. Internet.org is also sharpening its focus on India after partnering with Unilever to research into issues and challenges providing Internet access to rural communities in the country. The results will be used for a number of undisclosed projects that are currently ongoing to help rural Internet adoption.