Finalist category: Tech4Good for Africa Award
Finalist, Tech4Good for Africa Award, Winner, 2019
Jangala was developed as an internet solution to help refugees living in the Jungle refugee camp in Calais. Since this first implementation, it has developed into a social enterprise to connect the most vulnerable in the world in order to reduce isolation, promote human rights, deliver education and improve life chances.
The Jangala team – Rich Thanki, Nils O’Hara, Jaz O’Hara and Sansom Rinaldi – have taken the initial concept of internet connections for people living in the Jungle camp and are developing it to help people with wider humanitarian and social needs including the delivery of education for children in Kenya. The solution, Big Box, is an internet connection device that maximises digital signals to increase reliability and the number of devices it can support. It is robust and low cost and designed to require little or no technical support making it cheap and easy to deploy and maintain at a local level.
Jangala is dedicated to enabling internet access for people in need of urgent humanitarian aid or longer-term developmental assistance. Their first product is Big Box, a lightweight briefcase-sized device that transforms any form of internet connectivity into Wi-Fi that is easy to manage and easy to scale, from tens to thousands of users. By eliminating the need for costly technical expertise, Big Box radically lowers the barriers to deploying internet access, across a range of challenging aid scenarios.
Jangala has deployed 20 Big Box systems worldwide in the last two years including sub Saharan Africa. Their work has provided crucial internet access in many situations: including for aid workers and internally displaced people in the aftermath of the Lombok earthquake, for students taking online secondary school courses in remote Kakuma in Kenya, and for refugees arriving by boat to the island of Lesbos in Greece. Jangala’s efforts to date have connected over 25,000 people. These connections ensure displaced people in refugee camps can remain in contact with family and friends reducing isolation. People with refugee status can apply for asylum in their host nation and progress applications thus supporting basic human rights. Education programmes are being delivered using the internet facilitated by Big Box both in refugee camps and remote locations ensuring students of all ages study and improve their life chances.
Jangala works with both grassroots organisations and large aid and development organisations. The system has been used in first responder situations following natural disasters such as the Lombok earthquake. They are working with larger organisations to help develop the functionality of Big Box and ready the system for commercialisation.
To achieve sustainability by 2022, Jangala is needs £400,000 in donations and sponsorship over the next 3 years. By securing this level of funding, Jangala will also deploy 200 pro bono Big Box systems with grassroots aid groups over the next 3 years. In the short term there is some software development required to improve the Jangala Big Box making it easier to use and more flexible to use. This software development and a some hardware improvements will bring their system to a minimum viable product that they can commercialise. This is the first step to them becoming a sustainable organisation. The existing version of Big Box is very usable as it is and Jangala are planning to deploy more systems on a pro bono basis over the next 12 months. Immediate deployments include educational projects in Kenya, Sudan, and Botswana.