The activities of our South African member NREN, TENET, have aided the achievement of multiple SDGs in their country. From eduroam to affordable internet connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NREN has documented and shared its initiatives through stories and news articles. Using the methods techniques developed under the AfricaConnect3 project, TENET has showcased how they contribute to the UN SDGs by sighting multiple examples.
Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing
SDG 3, target 3 aims to “substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing states.”.
As students in the health sciences need practical hands-on experience as part of their training TENET undertook a project, beginning in 2021, to roll out eduroam to staff and students at four hospitals in the Western Cape of South Africa. This allows teaching staff and students to enjoy the same Internet access in these field sites as they do on campus.
Goal 4: Quality education
NRENS are critical to higher education, they provide institutions with affordable and reliable connectivity and services. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the commitment of African NRENs to support quality higher education on the continent as nearly all went above and beyond to give students and staff access to their teaching and learning materials remotely.
Prior to lockdown TENET made significant strides in connecting the lesser-resourced Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. In response to COVID-19 lockdowns TENET also played an important role in negotiating free access to online teaching for all university students and cheaper rates for Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goal 5: Gender equality
Several NRENs and their member institutions provide equal opportunities to their students and personnel beyond the field of ICT. Through dedicated and focused training and mentorship programmes, they have been addressing the existing gender inequalities and worked to improve the opportunities available to women.
Much work has also been done for goal 5.2 to “enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women”. Significant examples of these are the practical training provided by Eko-Connect and WACREN through their workshops, courses and hackathons aimed exclusively at women and girls.
Goal 8: Decent work and economic well-being
Closely tied to their work in support of the quality education goal, the various training initiatives by NRENs across Africa increase the much-needed ICT skill sets on the continent, contributing to overall economic growth and also increasing the employability of those involved.
In addition to the training opportunities already mentioned the UbuntuNet Alliance offered online training during the pandemic. TENET staff were involved in these training activities, including facilitating some of the training, such as eduroam training in Botswana and federation training events offered by the UbuntuNet Alliance and RENU (Uganda).
The AfricaConnect project have supported the delivery of training courses through the project’s partners as part of an overall strategy to build adequate human resource capacities and expertise within NRENs and MoReNet in Mozambique runs an ICT talent competition programme for university students, the winners of which get access to a paid internship programme, helping them onto the first rungs of the employment ladder.
This only showcases some of the impact that TENET and other NRENs have on the UN SDGs.
Read the full article on TENET’s website via: https://www.tenet.ac.za/news/africa2019s-nrens-and-the-sdgs and follow their activities via their official twitter page: https://twitter.com/tenetnews