Digital empowerment along the Amazon River

Connecting schools in rural communities along the Amazon River in Colombia, that is what is doing through the connectED project.

author image
Theresa Haans
18 June 2024
Clock 4 min

In the heart of the Amazon, where the dense forests meet winding rivers, is bringing the world closer to isolated communities. The connectED project in Colombia aims to bridge the digital divide by providing internet connectivity to villages along the Amazon River. This not only opens doors to educational and economic opportunities but also ensures the preservation of rich cultural heritage and local knowledge. By transforming schools into digital hubs, connectED fosters community empowerment and sustainable development.  

Connecting communities along the Amazon river 

The connectED project in Colombia, is a comprehensive initiative to connect communities situated around the Amazon River to meaningful connectivity. This effort is designed to ensure that local knowledge and cultural heritage remain preserved within the villages while simultaneously enabling students and adults to access crucial online resources.

Specifically, the project involves deploying infrastructure and technology solutions to establish reliable internet connectivity in these remote areas. This connectivity will serve as a gateway for community members to access educational materials, healthcare resources, economic opportunities, and other essential online services.

A key part of connectED in Colombia is involving the community, working closely with local residents. By listening to them and understanding their needs, the project ensures that the community feels a sense of ownership. Community involvement in the planning and implementation process aims to foster sustainability of the internet connection.

Through connectED, is creating a digital ecosystem where students can access quality education, adults can pursue economic opportunities and find jobs online, and communities can thrive in the digital age while preserving their unique cultural heritage.

Internet connection through innovative solutions

The schools are connected through a combination of satellite connectivity and refurbished hardware. The necessary materials include satellite dishes, receivers, modems, and networking equipment. Additionally, the schools receive refurbished computers, laptops, tablets, and other devices to ensure students have access to the digital tools they need for learning.

Schools receive refurbished computers, laptops, tablets, and other devices, ensuring that every student has the digital tools they need for learning. The process begins with installing satellite dishes at each school to establish a strong internet connection. Then, networking equipment is set up to distribute internet access throughout the school. This approach ensures that even the most remote schools can benefit from reliable internet access, allowing students to dive into online educational resources.

Beyond just providing hardware and internet access, the connectED project takes an extra step to enhance the learning experience. Each school receives a variety of learning software and educational resources tailored to their specific curriculum and needs. This ensures that students have the right tools to succeed, making the most of their new internet connectivity. Whether it’s interactive lessons, educational games, or subject-specific materials, these resources are designed to support teachers and engage students, creating a rich and dynamic learning environment. 

Schools as central internet hubs

Prioritizing to connect schools is a conscious decision made by Schools are the heart of learning and education in their communities. By providing internet access to schools, we can make a direct and meaningful impact on students’ educational outcomes. This connectivity empowers students with access to many online resources and opportunities, opening doors to a world of knowledge right at their fingertips. 

Connecting schools not only benefits students but also extends to teachers, administrators, and the broader community. It enables educators to access professional development resources, collaborate with peers, and enhance their teaching practices. Additionally, connectivity in schools can facilitate community engagement initiatives, such as parent-teacher communication platforms and adult education programs.

Moreover, by focusing on connecting schools, we can leverage existing infrastructure and educational networks to maximize the reach and impact of our initiatives. This approach allows us to create sustainable, scalable solutions that have a lasting impact on education and community development.

Long term impact 

The ultimate goal in connecting these schools is to create a transformative impact that extends far beyond immediate access to connectivity. In the long term, we hope that connecting these schools will:

  • Improve educational outcomes: By providing students and teachers with access to digital resources, we aim to enhance the quality of education and academic achievement in these communities. Access to online learning materials, educational software, and virtual classrooms can broaden students’ horizons and equip them with the skills needed for success in the digital age.
  • Foster community development: Connectivity in schools can serve as a catalyst for broader community development initiatives. By empowering students with digital literacy skills and access to information, we aim to stimulate economic growth, encourage entrepreneurship, and promote social inclusion within these communities.
  • Preserve local knowledge and culture: Connectivity enables communities to preserve and share their unique cultural heritage and local knowledge with the world. By facilitating communication and collaboration between schools and community members, we hope to strengthen cultural identity and promote intergenerational learning and storytelling.
  • Bridge the digital divide: By ensuring that schools in underserved areas have access to connectivity, we aim to bridge the digital divide and create more equitable opportunities for all students, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic background.

Overall, the vision for connecting these schools is to serve as a catalyst for positive change, empowering individuals, strengthening communities, and building a brighter future for generations to come.

On the project page you can read the latest updates about the project.