BuffaloGrid, a startup that provides phone charging and digital content to people in off-grid environments, is teaming up with the Techfugees refugee nonprofit to provide free educational content and device charging to displaced people across East Africa and the Middle East.
The initial service will see solar-powered “BuffaloGrid Hubs” deployed in refugee camps across Kenya and Uganda, providing unlimited free access to education and health content, as well as other streaming services and mobile power charging.
The “Knowledge is Freedom” joint campaign has a goal of raising $3 million over the course of the next two years.
Daniel Becerra, CEO of BuffaloGrid, said: “Our mission is to remove barriers for internet adoption and provide the next billion with information, energy, and digital skills. I hope this campaign will raise awareness of the plight of displaced people and how collectively we have the power to change things. The entire team is excited to work with Techfugees. I believe together we have the technical expertise, experience and connections to make a real difference.”
Raj Burman, Techfugees CEO, said: “In an increasingly digital and climate change-stricken world, our mission is to make sure forcibly displaced people don’t get left behind. Around 400,000 marginalized refugees reside in the Rwamwanja and Kakuma-Kalobeyei settlement camps in Uganda and Kenya, respectively. Our collaboration with BuffaloGrid presents a unique opportunity for an innovative, responsible digital solution to empower displaced communities with the support of our chapters in Kenya and Uganda to overcome the access barriers to education and health content to better their livelihoods.”
Techfugees says 80 million people (roughly 1% percent of humanity) have been displaced because of climate change, war, conflict, economic challenges and persecution. This figure is expected to grow to more than 1 billion displaced people by 2050.
Belfast-based BuffaloGrid has raised $6.4 million to date and counts Tiny VC, ADV, Seedcamp, Kima Ventures and LocalGlobe among its investors.
(Disclosure: Mike Butcher is chairman of Techfugees)