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Zenzeleni For Nigerian Villages and Entrepreneurs

This is a very fascinating story from South Africa where a community banded together, through its non-profit [not foreign-funded], to setup an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to give their residents affordable voice and internet services. The telcos have thought that Mankosi village is very poor to make money from, and with few operators, competition was limited, pushing prices up.  The villagers did not fall to that: they went all the way and built an ISP, and got the price down.

...a rural community in Eastern Cape, where few people have electricity, has set up its own ISP. The innovation here is not necessarily the technology (... ) but instead the community-owned non-profit model that brings affordable voice and internet services to rural locals in a remote area.

The Zenzeleni project is owned and run by a rural cooperative. Just like any ISP, according to Quazt, Zenzeleni "installs and maintains telecommunications infrastructure and also sells telecommunications services like voice and data".

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What they are doing in South Africa can be copied in Nigeria. In Bayelsa State, for example, most parts remain with no network connectivity. Sure, when you have communities sequestered by pockets of water bodies, telcos may not see value in expanding there. The Zenzeleni project is a model those communities can use to support their residents.

Besides, our Nigerian electricity challenges can be managed with this model where communities can work together to provide electricity through renewables like solar. Someone has to figure out how to make this happen in Nigeria.

Entrepreneurs: I think some of our communities can buy into this model if someone comes up with a strong value proposition. The villages can tap into resources from outside their communities by asking their sons and daughters to support the initiative. But someone has to figure out how to engage them to buy into the idea.

*Zenzeleni means “do it yourself” in isiXhosa, a leading Southern African language, spoken in Eastern Cape. It is the area's most prevalent language.

Why don’t you begin the change you desire? Reach out to several electrical engineers and social activists as well as  college students, possibly this can be the catalyst...best wishes!

I do not have to do it - I have areas I have chosen. Mine is agriculture and healthcare and if your village needs smart farming, ask us in http://www.zenvus.com. That I have written it does not mean I have to do it. Otherwise, there will not be journalism and media.

Interesting idea and proposition. The big challenge will be on figuring out how to make the project less expensive, so that small communities can afford such.