UNICEF is currently in confirmed talks with the government of Kyrgyzstan to utilize blockchain technology to give every school in the nation internet access.
There has been a lot of talk in the private sector about utilizing blockchain, but the public sector has just as much to gain from the technology. From streamlining voting to modernizing bureaucracy, blockchain technology promises so much for our public institutions. The blockchain can help us to expand our existing digital infrastructure and make it ultra-accessible — and that’s exactly what UNICEF has just announced it’ll be doing.
The international organization is currently in talks with the government of Kyrgyzstan to use blockchain technology to expand internet access to every school in the entirety of the country. With the help of Project Connect, 1,560 schools in Kyrgyzstan have been found to have a poor connection — nearly half of which likely have no internet access at all.
The Deputy Representative of UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, Munir Mammadzade, has promised that expanding internet access is one of the primary goals of UNICEF’s efforts in the country, right now. At this moment, what needs to be sorted out is the mapping, the connectivity, and the accounting concerns, before the plan can properly be instituted.
Blockchain promises a multi-faceted approach to management, accounting, and monitoring, which will allow for the “whole country to come online.” This is preferable to simply throwing money at the problem while hoping things will improve in a few years (which never seems to do much of anything).
Luckily, UNICEF’s plan is very concrete. Last December, two blockchain startups received $100,000 each from the UNICEF Innovation Fund, which provides us with a sneak peek of what this idea will look like in practice. The idea, fundamentally, involves parceling out a gigabyte through the use of “impact tokens.” This will allow for cheaper and more-dynamic pricing for internet connectivity. Project Connect is heavily involved in these developments, along with direct oversight from UNICEF.
Although the details have yet to be announced in full, the news, nonetheless, seems promising.
Do you think blockchain technology can expand internet access around the world and bring more of the globe online? Let us know your thoughts below!