Google has announced a $5 million package of grants to African institutions designed to get more people online in Africa. The package includes a number of significant individual grants including a $1,25 million (N195,800,000) grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and a US$500,000 grant to the Nigeria ICT forum, amongst others.
Housed at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory will help to preserve and give unprecedented digital access to thousands of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials about the life and times of Nelson Mandela.
Google’s grant will assist in expanding the online Mandela archive and make it available to the global audiences, scholars and researchers in the future. In addition to significant audio-visual materials, the online multimedia archive will include Mr Mandela’s letters and correspondence with family, comrades and friends; prison diaries; and notes he made while leading the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.
A grant of the same size has also been made to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitization of Desmond Tutu’s archives, and an interactive digital learning centre.
Google today also announced three other grants also made through the Google Inc.Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation. Amongst the grantees is the Nigeria ICT Forum. A $500,000 (N78million) grant has been made to support efforts in improving access to Internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.
The Nigeria ICT Forum is an initiative of the Nigerian Caucus (a joint meeting of the Vice-Chancellors and ICT Coordinators) of the six Partnership Nigerian Universities. Its mandate is to develop ICT-based capacity for strengthening Research and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs); Facilitate and nurture collaboration between HEIs to cultivate a
favourable policy environment; develop, utilise and sustain ICT
networks, services and shared resources consistent with institutional
roles as focus for development.
Commenting on the initiative, Lola Masha, Business Development Manager at Google Nigeria said, “We want to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information. Our grants for the Mandela and Tutu archives will give the global public an opportunity to engage with the history of some of the most extraordinary leaders of our time. We are also thrilled to be announcing a grant to the Nigeria ICT Forum which will help more Nigerian students access the internet and benefit from access to information”.
Commenting on the grant, the board secretary of the Nigeria ICT Forum, Mr. Nasir Bello stated: “We are delighted with the grant to Nigerian ICT Forum which supports our goals to nurture the building of vibrant e-communities through training, innovation and partnerships . It will support the efforts in developing the community around shared Internet infrastructure, greatly reducing cost and therefore barriers to
affordable connectivity in tertiary educational institutions in