Partnership story

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Cisco and UNHCR provide Internet in a Tanzanian camp


Kasulu, Tanzania has no electricity and an unreliable telephone system, but these days – thanks to a private American foundation – the UNHCR camp here has an Internet connection and refugees are mastering information technology (IT).

Global Catalyst Foundation, an organisation in California’s Silicon Valley that aims to improve people’s lives through the effective application of IT, runs three Internet Learning Centres in Kasulu, a remote town in the far north-western corner of Tanzania, near the border with Burundi. The centres are located in the UNHCR-run refugee camp at Mtabila, at the Kasulu Folk Development College and at the Kasulu Teacher’s Training College.

The project aims to promote economic development in the Kasulu district and among Burundi refugees – just having an Internet connection gives Kasulu an advantage over other similar-sized Tanzanian towns. In addition, the project will give refugees and local residents opportunities to get well-paying jobs with their new IT skills and to earn money through new income-generating projects. Another goal is to promote co-operation and increase tolerance, partnership and understanding between Tanzanians and Burundians in the district.

Since the project started less than two years ago, it has already paid dividends. Cisco Systems, a US-based technology giant that produces most of the networking equipment used to run the Internet around the world, has designated the Internet centre at the Kasulu teacher’s college a Cisco Networking Academy.