UNICEF-led initiative “Internet of Good Things” mobile-packaged content platform, a set of information and resources which promote living healthier and better has been launched in Kenya and will be accessible via Safaricom SIM cards.

Internet of Good Things as a platform hosts mobile-packaged content from UNICEF and its partners is programmed to make life-saving and life-improving information available at no cost. Now available in Kenya, UNICEF is collaborating with Safaricom to bring this experience to Kenyans especially to disadvantaged populations and marginalised communities in the country. The initiative aims to bridge the digital divide and access to information, thus, Safaricom has underwritten the connectivity costs related to accessing the site.

Accordingly, the platform will be accessible free of data charges as long as it is accessed through a Safaricom SIM card. Additionally, the platform will be accessible even on low-end devices, and basic web-enabled mobile phones. To further increase accessibility to information, Safaricom will provide affordable mobile phones in order to reduce the cost burden of acquiring phones. “To address accessibility, we are pricing our phones for as low as Sh3,500 to deepen penetration,” Safaricom’s head of corporate responsibility, Sanda Ojiambo said.

The collaboration hopes to bring change in awareness and also increase knowledge to critical areas. Through the platform’s great access to information and tools to provide feedback, Kenyan youth and citizens will be able to take part in critical discussions and voice their opinions simply using their phone. The content which includes information on ending violence and positive parenting enables one to recognise violence and how to report it, safe sexual health information, menstrual hygiene and environmental protection among others.

To ensure more participation and wider coverage, there will be language options to suit audience preference. UNICEF curates the content targeting young people and liaises with government entities and information providers. Speaking at the launch of the platform on Tuesday, Priscilla Ofori-Amanfo, the regional communications officer of UNICEF said, “The content will be in English and Kiswahili but we are considering translating in other local languages because we acknowledge not everyone is literate.”

“Today’s generation of children and young people face enormous challenges. And on the continent, we know that there is a rapidly growing population which will perhaps always also be the most strained to services such as education and health,” she added.

Through the Internet of Good Things, access is provided to skill-building, positive knowledge and emergency information. People can be empowered to make informed decisions around health, ending violence, environmental protection, career advice and many other areas.

“We are pleased this collaboration between UNICEF Kenya and Safaricom will allow young people, caregivers and communities to access vital information and acquire new knowledge and skills – so that more children and young people can be protected from violence, harm and disease and can grow to their full potential. UNICEF is committed to reaching the most disadvantaged populations and marginalized communities,” says Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer-In-Charge of UNICEF Kenya.

The joint effort of UNICEF and Safaricom to provide free access to information will help many communities and vulnerable individuals across Kenya who do not have ways to easily, or without charge, access life-saving information. Like young girls who are vulnerable to child marriage, female genital mutilation, physical, sexual and gender-based violence, early and unintended pregnancy, HIV and AIDS and more.

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