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Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 09:02 GMT
Award for Namibia schools project
Namibian children
Aim: To provide net access for every child in Namibia
An ambitious initiative to provide computers and net access for all schoolchildren in Namibia has been recognised with a prestigious award.

The Africa Hafkin Communications Prize was set up by Nancy Hafkin, a pioneer in introducing information and communication technology in Africa.

SchoolNet Namibia was singled out by the judges at a ceremony in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as an exemplary role model for the sustainable introduction of computers in schools across Africa.

The project introduces computers into schools across Namibia, using open source and free software solutions.

Solar powered


The prize rewards real life examples of how the internet can be, and is being, used as a powerful tool for development and social justice

Maureen James, APC
It sets up free internet services in partnership with local government-owned telecom agencies in solar-powered computer labs.

Its work has been recognised by the Namibian Government. It has acknowledged SchoolNet as a key player in rolling out technology across all schools in the country.

Congratulating the winner on its $7,500 prize, Nancy Hafkin called on governments across Africa to question what impact their policies on information communication technology were having.

"Will government provide service subsidies to the poorest or to the disabled? Will government encourage the development of software that the illiterate can use?" she asked.

Social justice

"Both SchoolNet Namibia and Bridges.org have been leaders in demystifying information and communication technology policy and bringing its realities to the people of Africa," she added.

Runner-up Bridges.org is a non-profit research and lobby body which promotes best practise in the use of technology in South Africa.

The Hafkin prize is organised by the Association for Progressive Communications.

"It plays a small but important role by recognising and rewarding real life examples of how the internet can be, and is being, used as a powerful tool for development and social justice," said Executive Director of APC Maureen James.


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