Pan African Connection
Bringing Literacy, Education and Development to disadvantaged communities across Africa
Q.- What is the difference between what you are proposing and what other NGO's are doing in the
Ans.- Pan-African is the concept of bringing a comprehensive set of solutions into the rural parts of
Africa. It will bring literacy, education and local development. But it does not replace existing NGO's it is
concerned with working with them to get more communities under the same plan.
Q.- So, what is the plan?
Ans.- The plan calls for sending into the target community a young person with at least a High School
diploma to start literacy. He/she would come with a set of equipment, a dedicated satellite connection to
our facilities and a supervising NGO who has contracted with the local community would be supervising.
Q.- If they are to serve in rural Africa, these locations will most likely not have electricity so how are
you proposing to deal with that?
Ans.- This is part of what the supervising NGO would be doing. There is a preparation work that comes
before hand. We are recommending a small structure in the beginning, housing for the student/teacher
and the contract to bring power into the community. Which maybe via the grid, solar or bio-fuels locally
Q.- You mention "contract" what do you mean by that?
The Pan-African Connection concept calls for going to as many sites as possible to get economies of
scale. It is by design that a local NGO provide supervision, since many communities will not have
electricity; investments need to be made to get the facilities and power built. Although there may be
grants to some, gifts and donations, we cannot rely on these to reach as many areas as possible. The
NGO will once again supervise the acquisition of funds via, low cost loans to these communities
extending over a longer period, so that these communities will be able to pay it back.
Q.- What do you mean by economies of scale?
Ans.- Under the proposed plan we are aggregating all these different remote community schools; our
work will be to provide the educational, instructional and informative materials via, workshops,
seminars, and videos in an electronic format. Once a given set of material is recorded or made, it
becomes a matter of making it available to the remote community centers via the satellite connection.
Envisioned for each site is a dedicated server that will be receiving and storing the materials that are
going to be needed in the community center. By aggregating it should also be understood that the
different language groups would also be served. Instead of one teacher for one community and the
length of time involved in this process, it is one presentation that goes out to many and you still the
advantage of a local teacher/coach. Besides the added bonus that questions can be sent higher up in
the form of email. Over time on-camera questions can be addressed.
Q. Two things come to mind, do you mean to say you have all these different specialists on board at
your site to provide instruction? Secondly what about these local servers what is their capacity?
Ans.- Once again by design when an NGO signs up to this plan, their own capacities and
specializations in their area of work, whether agriculture, schools, health and wellness or whatever their
expertise is requested to be made available to the rest of the connected system. So in this sense we
are also aggregating knowledge and instruction and making it more widely disseminated. It s expected
that very shortly thereafter we can begin to poll our recipients to ascertain how much was absorbed; that
is, actually taken-up. We can do this via questionnaires that are filled at local computers. This will help
us design the materials to best suit the audience.
Now, as far as the servers: The starting point for a given community is different depending on a:) Size
and need; is it literacy or basic elementary? b:) Ability to get the required financing. How much they are
willing to spend initially. But the design is for local servers to continue to grow their storage capacity. The
initial start-up is conceptualized at 4 Terabytes of memory but it may increase if the price continues to
come down. It should be noted that how many computers are later connected at a given site is part of
what the supervising NGO and the local community engage to do that is the local part.
Q.- It just seems that you are introducing many new concepts, is this not true?
Ans.- Yes, no, maybe? The reality is that we are endeavoring to do is a larger scale than what others are
already doing. But even the concept of satellite delivered school instruction is not new. There is a
business that operates doing just that. We are keeping costs down by the cooperation between NGO's,
focusing the work on getting increased economic activity in these remote communities and helping to
alleviate the most pressing concerns in our lifetime.
Q.- Just what are those concerns?
Ans.- Global warming, the explosive population growth coming to Africa and related to both of these is
the education and instruction that we are imparting in these remote communities. In endeavoring to
increase economic activity, we are talking about increased agricultural production, this along with better
management of soil, water and flora helps to lessen the impact of greenhouse gases.
The population growth that is seen for Africa is due to the low median age across the continent in
Sub-Saharan Africa it is pegged at 15.8; in real terms it means that the population is going to increase
rather substantially over the next 20 years or so; putting additional pressures on governments that even
with today's populations are not able to cope with all the demands on funds for expansion of schooling,
housing, infrastructure development and job creation.
What is gained by engaging these remote communities now is a many fold return on investment: Firstly,
consider that in these communities even with the tremendous efforts being expended today under the
Millennium Development Goals, are still going without schools, without direct development projects and
essentially economically marginalized. This will change with our intervention.
Another benefit is that as these communities increase their economic well being, they will be able to
provide the economic stimulus for localized development via the demand for products and services that
they can pay for. While governments can focus on macro-development, these empowered communities
will carry out the micro-development that leads to regional economic empowerment.
Our commitment to see real Education happen in these remote parts of Africa also brings the added
advantage that people with higher educational support tend to have fewer children, that even if they opt
to leave the rural area for the urban centers, they will at least have an education. Contrast that with what
is currently happening that young people come into these urban centers with largely no education and