High-quality internet access is essential to respond effectively to humanitarian emergencies and for a country’s longer-term development. Big Box greatly simplifies the currently complex process of setting up internet in difficult environments.
Over 68 million people are displaced from their homes by conflict and disasters, and more than 200 million more need immediate humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, over the next 30 years, climate change could result in a billion displaced people.
During humanitarian emergencies, those providing water, shelter, medical assistance and food must act in challenging circumstances to save lives and livelihoods. Coordination and communication are vital during this process, and Big Box can help by creating high-capacity Wi-Fi in less than a minute.
In situations of natural and manmade disaster, existing communications networks can fail – exactly when the need for them is the greatest.
Meanwhile, for people separated from their family and familiar lives, often in perilous situations, connectivity is a lifeline. The internet is a place to communicate with loved ones, as well as to find information, send and receive money, and for education and entertainment.
Of the one billion people living in Least Developed Countries, many have low levels of access to health, education and information services - and connectivity can unlock many opportunities.
The internet can serve as a powerful catalyst for job creation, and drive innovation. A recent survey of more than 4,800 small- and medium-sized businesses in 12 countries, from retail to manufacturing, showed that those using web technologies grew more than twice as fast as those with a minimal web presence. Internet access is essential for a free media; there is a clear connection between the maturity of a country’s internet access with rising living standards; in health, it can provide isolated people with access to life-saving and improving information; and in education, it can open up prospects for vulnerable groups, women and girls.
So essential to development is the internet that the UN has declared it a human right.
Existing approaches to internet access in both emergencies and difficult-to-connect urban, rural and remote areas use a range of repurposed technologies that require expert knowledge to set up and run. This greatly limits the ability of aid organisations to deal with the uncertainty of humanitarian response and the budget constraints of development work.
Jangala’s Big Box addresses these issues with a single, scalable system.