Ericsson has partnered with the Earth Institute at Columbia University to provide connectivity to the Millennium Villages project. This partnership is designed to bring mobile communication and the Internet to approximately 400,000 people in 10 African countries where the project is working.
The Millennium Villages project is a partnership between The Earth Institute, Millennium Promise and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Millennium Villages project is a community-led initiative, which aims to empower rural African communities out of the extreme poverty that traps hundreds of millions of people throughout the continent. Currently, the project is working in 79 villages covering approximately 5,000 people per village. The project is solving issues related with agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, gender equality and business development. Ericsson will also work closely with the operators to identify and develop telecom services and applications customized to meet the needs of the villages. In the first phase of the partnership, Ericsson and Sony Ericsson will supply a number of mobile and fixed wireless phones to the communities in an effort to bring the benefits of connectivity to areas such as agriculture, health, education and infrastructure. Ericsson and Sony Ericsson have also co-developed a solar village charger for mobile phones that will be provided to each village. This new technology is capable to charge 30 mobile phones batteries per day.