Wireless in Africa

Wireless trainers put labels on a map of Africa to indicate wireless initiatives now functioning as a result of the four trainings carried out in 2005-2006. Photo: APCWireless trainers put labels on a map of Africa to indicate wireless initiatives now functioning as a result of the four trainings carried out in 2005-2006. Photo: APCThe high cost of conventional “wired” infrastructure is an obstacle to anyone wanting to use the internet for development and social change. Wireless technologies offer tested, low-cost options to complement conventional infrastructure – but in order for the promise of wireless to be fulfilled, interventions are needed at a number of levels, ranging from policy, to technical development, to capacity building.

During 2005 and 2006 APC implemented a “capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa” partnership project, the first of a proposed series of projects to address capacity building for wireless connectivity.

This partnership project focused on capacity building through training, materials development, knowledge networking, information dissemination and general awareness raising, drawing on the considerable expertise of the implementing partners in community wireless projects on the one hand, and training and support materials development on the other. The primary target audience were potential “champions” – people such as technical implementers, managers and trainers who would be able to apply and share the skills and knowledge acquired during the training.

Wireless materials were produced in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. All training units were made freely available for download on the ItrainOnline website.

A final evaluation carried out among participants in all of the workshops showed that over half had gone on to train others in using wireless technology and a similar number were responsible for building wireless networks themselves after receiving the training.

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