Enterprising solar energy company, Zonful Energy is on a drive to increase mobile internet adoption and usage for rural communities which have previously lagged behind.
The company which was awarded a grant as part of the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion, which is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it is aiming to reduce the internet usage gap through providing affordable mobile services.
Zonful Energy will be introducing the Pay As You Go model. This enables low income earning customers to access smartphones upon payment of a small deposit and settle the balance over a stipulated period of time.
Both customers and non-customers of Zonful Energy Solar Home System can be part of the programme.
"Internet adoption will curb the information gap and improve the livelihood of the deprived communities. In this digital age, internet literacy is of paramount importance and over 43% of the Zimbabwean population does not currently use the internet.
"The GSMA Innovation Fund will enable Zonful Energy to curtail the internet usage gab in rural off-grid areas. Zonful Energy will market and distribute low-cost smartphones and data bundles with up to 24 months' data plans," reads a statement from the company.
Accordingly, the company is targeting companies, schools and families who have embraced digital technology in the COVID-19 era as most services have gone online.
"This initiative will enable learners, living in the rural areas, to access their online lessons. This project will also tackle the Digital Skills barrier by hosting Digital Clinics where customers will be taught how to use mobile internet through the GSMA Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT), in collaboration with Econet.
"The project will encompass an adult education platform that provides customers with agricultural and financial advice to help improve their daily life. This platform will make it easier for our customers to see the benefits of joining the digital revolution with a tailored solution to off-grid consumers," Zonful Energy further stated.