By APCNews GOA, India, 24 October 2005
Fantsuam takes the lonely road to rural wireless internet
APC member Fantsuam Foundation remains a lone player in rural wireless internet service in northern Nigeria. "Our capacity building efforts have been facilitated by two APC-led events: in Zanzibar and South Africa," says John Dada, of the Foundation.
Represented by Ochuko Onoberhie, the Fantsuam Foundation was one of the new trainers at the IDRC-APC South African Wireless Workshop, held in mid-September 2005.
Fantsuam was also identified as a strategic partner for the next round of trainers for the West African version of this workshop. Through these various capacity building events, Fantsuam is working to act as a sub-regional resource centre for wireless training.
"Currently we are the only academy in English speaking West Africa with the capacity to train Cisco-certified wireless support specialists," adds Dada.
He sees the proposed IDRC-funded (International Development Research Centre) project to facilitate sharing of Fantsuam bandwidth with rural CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) in Nigeria, the West African Wireless Roadshow, the possible participation in the Harambe Project , and the OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa) workshop on Bandwidth costs as "all future possibilities which we eagerly await at Fantsuam."
Founded in 1996 in Jos, Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation is a non-profit organisation aimed at working on gender and youth focused micro-finance and ICT services and development in rural communities of Nigeria.
Fantsuam already has a number of achievements to its credit. These include: winner of the first Africa Hafkin prize; first rural ISP (internet service provider) in Nigeria; first rural Cisco networking academy in Nigeria; winner of Global
Knowledge Partnership’s Seed Grant and Small Innovative Projects Fund; founder of Nigeria’s first rural Geeks corps, the Zitt Geeks .
In addition, it also launched the ICT entrepreneurship and business incubation for rural SMEs (small and medium enterprises); it was chair of the African Technical Advisory Committee (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa); Fantsuam promoted the establishment of the first community radios in Nigeria; and it initiated the local assembly of Solo tropicalised computers. Besides, it provides refurbished computers to rural health and educational institutions and is at the forefront in the community radio advocacy efforts in Nigeria.
1 In the Harambee project, APC is collaborating with Bellanet Africa and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), to strengthen and support collaborative processes in Africa. The project was launched in mid-2005.
2 The Zitt Geeks are Fantsuam Foundation’s homegrown young techies.
3 Solo computers are Fantsuam’s response to the frequent hard disk failures of regular PCs in tropical Africa. It uses solid state technology, runs Linux and requires 8.5W of power.
Fantsuam Foundation website