UNICEF Explores Blockchain to Improve Internet for ‘Every School’ in Kyrgyzstan
Children’s non-profit organization UNICEF is in talks with the government of Kyrgyzstan to leverage blockchain technology to provide Internet access to every school in the country.
“We are at the early stages of exploring a
blockchain-based solution for the Project Connect initiative in Kyrgyzstan where the government is working with UNICEF and the private sector to connect every school in the country to the Internet and provide access to information and opportunity to all young people,” Munir Mammadzade, deputy representative for UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, told CoinDesk this week.
As part of a broader, ongoing initiative called Project Connect, UNICEF aims to engage over 1,500 local schools in Kyrgyzstan and explore the use of a blockchain-based solution for improving and monitoring Internet connectivity levels.
At present, Project Connect has already mapped Internet connectivity levels for over 150,000 schools across the globe. Of these, 1,560 schools are based in Kyrgyzstan – for which close to half are identified as having either no Internet connectivity or simply no data on the matter.
All this work is happening on “an accelerated, crazy
crypto timeline,” according to lead personnel of UNICEF Ventures Chris Fabian, who told CoinDesk that “the blockchain piece” of Project Connect would come over the course of the present year.
“Right now, we’re still at a very early modular stage, doing the mapping, getting the connectivity piece and figuring out the accounting,” said Fabian.
“You can easily see where the blockchain layers would come in … If you want to pay as a donor – government or company – for a whole section of the country to come online, wouldn’t you rather do that in a way that is authentic and real and accountable as opposed to just sending money somewhere and hoping two years later that something happens?”
Fabian said blockchain could also help “improve the monitoring of the quality of Internet in schools and other vital facilities,” emphasizing that the potential for distributed ledger technology “as accounting, management and monitoring” was, in his opinion, multi-faceted.