The United States government is funding TooMuchWifi’s initiative to offer free data to Western Cape communities to educate residents about ways to reduce COVID-19 infections.
The funding comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases and is part of USAID’s partnership with Breakthrough ACTION and the Centre for Communication Impact (CCI), a South African non-profit organization with expertise in strategic communication and community response activities. TooMuchWifi, an internet service provider across South Africa, was identified as a strategic vehicle to reach thousands in the Western Cape with COVID-19 messages.
Users will be able to read timely and accurate COVID-19 information and take a simple quiz about COVID-19. The information will touch on different topical issues to counter disinformation, encourage social distancing, and support those who may be at higher risk due to tuberculosis or HIV. Passing the quiz will transfer R5 into a user’s TooMuchWifi wallet which converts to 500MB that the person can use or send to family/friends to access any digital content they wish. As of 28 April, more than 13,000 users have taken the quiz, equating to more than 6.6GB of data given out.
TooMuchWifi is currently operating in communities across Cape Town, including Dunoon, Joe Slovo, Phoenix, Langa, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Vrygrond, Philippi, Crossroads, Nyanga, Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg, Mfuleni, and Khayelitsha. USAID support to Breakthrough ACTION and CCI helps the National Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Technical Working Group to communicate urgent messages from the Department of Health and the Office of the President in real time through various platforms, with TooMuchWifi as one of those. The funding amounts to approximately R73,000.
“This is an example of the U.S. government’s partnership with the local private sector to deliver effective solutions to underprivileged communities in developing countries. This moderate investment has reached thousands in communities of the Western Cape with COVID-19 messages,” said John Groarke, Mission Director for USAID Southern Africa.
To see if TooMuchWifi is available in your area, please visit toomuchwifi.co.za.
To date, the U.S. government has provided approximately 410 million rand in health assistance to support South Africa’s COVID-19 response. Over the last 20 years, the United States has invested globally more than 3.1 trillion rand in health and humanitarian assistance. The U.S. Government continues to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and plans to provide additional assistance. Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere, the United States calls on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19.
TooMuchWifi delivers affordable, premium internet to consumers in low-income urban communities, who often spend up to 25% of household income on mobile data. TooMuchWifi offers customers excellent internet access at 10% of the cost of mobile network operators. The company serves 40,000 customers in 18 communities around Cape Town. TooMuchWifi has a strong social mission, and over 85% of its employees come from underserved communities themselves. TooMuchWifi was co-founded by American entrepreneur Ian Thomson, a U.S. Marine Veteran, and Jonathan Endersby, a South African technologist. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, TooMuchWifi has been helping low-income communities access reliable health information more easily. The company has donated over 67,000GB of data to support Internet access during this crisis. To learn more about TooMuchWifi, visit https://toomuchwifi.co.za/. For additional information, please contact Ian Thomson, CEO of TooMuchWifi, at firstname.lastname@example.org