Ericsson, Cocacola, Solarkiosk and Tigo merge to empower communities through EKOCENTER
Ericsson in partnership with Coca-Cola Company have rolled out a pilot project to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER, a social enterprise initiative designed to empower community well-being by bringing safe water, solar power and mobile communications, as well as basic goods and services to undeserved communities. The pilot project will be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda and German start-up company, Solarkiosk.
The initiative endeavors to help communities thrive by providing further access to resources by use of Mobile broadband a channel that will address a wide range of issues that hinder development – from poverty to lack of electricity and safe water, to financial exclusion and gender inequality. The partnering parties are looking to Create a community hub which is a great way to empower women while making needed services available in a convenient way.
They will also merge to figure out commercially sustainable business models to address poverty and development in rural areas. The EKOCENTER is an ideal platform for Rwandans to use Tigo’s network to develop new skills by accessing different digital services. Coca-Cola Company will also partner with Solarkiosk, to roll-out EKOCENTER in six countries in Africa and Asia in 2015. The unique design of the kiosk is also tailored to meet the needs of undeserved communities.
The solar-powered, reliable source of energy provides a safe solution for off-the-grid communities, enabling them to conduct everyday activities. The modular kiosks will be run by local women entrepreneurs, and serve as a community center where people gather and have access to free and fee-based services. The new connectivity services could include education, health care, mobile commerce, information and entertainment.
Ericsson will initially deploy its Managed Rural Coverage (MRC) solution to provide Internet services to the EKOCENTER in rural Rwanda. The company’s TV Anywhere service will enable access to education and healthcare content as well as infotainment capabilities, enabling the kiosk to become a connected hub.
Ericsson will also provide EKOCENTER with its M-Commerce solution that enables people to make transactions using their mobile wallets. Based on success of implementation, Ericsson will potentially incorporate its services at additional EKOCENTER sites.