SITA joins Dell Technologies (NYSE:Dell) and Computer Aid International to launch a new Solar Community Hub to support a rural community in Limpopo, South Africa. To support digital inclusion in rural communities, this project aligns with South African national  Development Plan to reduce poverty and close the gaps of inequality. The focus will be to support Limpopo community members to develop 21st-century skills, and to create spaces that foster innovation and creativity. Digital skills training will help create better life opportunities for potentially 2,000 people.

The Solar Community Hub will provide access to clean water, electricity, connectivity and a variety of educational opportunities for community members who use the hub each year. Key characteristics of the hub include: 

  • Designed from two connected recycled shipping containers and built with Dell Technology-enabled solutions, the hub provides ample, well-equipped space to meet community needs.
  • Equipped with low consumption energy technology and solar panels as an innovative way to bring connectivity and services to rural communities. Enables the expansion of the Community-owned network coverage and increases the reach of Internet services for community members at discounted rates.
  • Creates economic opportunities through education by providing basic computer and life skills training, including ICDL methodology.
  • Leverages a community-first approach to customise service and product offerings, including educational opportunities, and clean water via a rainwater collection and filtration system.

Power in Partnership 

According to the World Bank, South Africa is the most economically unequal country in the world. The legacy of apartheid prevails, and rural communities are the most affected. Despite these challenges, communities in the Limpopo area work together to address their most pressing issues. The Mamaila Tribal Authority and the Zuri Foundation are pioneers in establishing the first village community network internet service provider (ISP) in the region powered by Kichose Technology.

The Mamaila Community Network provides essential, reliable connectivity to the Limpopo community. The network cannot reach its full potential when people do not have access to information and communications technology devices, and the skills to use them. The hub is critical to make the network accessible to the whole community, while also ensuring community members have access to training and skills for greater financial sustainability in the future. The Solar Community Hub is set to become a valuable space for local students and entrepreneurs to expand their capabilities and support local economic development. Additionally, this environmentally sustainable hub will help promote increased awareness about important environmental and social issues – both locally and globally.

“Digital literacy is a keystone of 21st-century education, but many communities in South Africa lack reliable access to technology. As one of the largest global technology providers, we have a unique role to play in transforming the future for the better, and by establishing partnerships and collaborating with organizations to create a more technology literate society,” said Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa.

The Solar Community hub is an initiative supported by Dell Technologies in 27 locations in 7 countries in partnership with Computer Aid International.

Funding for the Limpopo hub is supported by the SITA and Dell Technologies.  As part of the program, SITA South Africa, through its B-BBEE initiative, will provide additional funding for training and certifying 320 students to increase the number of ICDL-certified beneficiaries to 520.

“We are committed to supporting local communities to thrive and grow everywhere we operate. We fund community projects like this one to increase educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged communities. This specific partnership with Computer Aid will enable school children and community from the Limpopo community to get ICDL computer training and certification.” Said Mpho Nkadimeng. Senior People Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa Region.