Dow is supporting an information and communication infrastructure pilot to reach approximately 50,000 people in Eastern Ghana to support improved internet and data communications connectivity.
Dow’s support will help to enable the construction of a renewable energy biomass power facility which will generate sustainable incomes for thousands of smallholder farmers locally.
Through its local grantee, the Okyeman Environment Foundation (OEF), Dow has enabled the construction of a WiFi network inclusive of hardware, software and deployment of technology to support two base stations and 18 hot spots to create an information and communication infrastructure pilot covering a collective area of about 15 km radius within surrounding communities of the biomass power facility.
The infrastructure allows approximately 50,000 people to connect to a WiFi network permitting affordable data communications and internet access.
This Project is a grantee of the Dow Business Impact Fund, which has been identifying and funding new projects around the globe that hold the potential to create significant social impact since 2016.
“Access to modern, cleaner energy is essential to human development. Affordable energy decreases poverty and improves quality of life, be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes,” said Peter Heydasch, global end-use manager for wire and cable solutions at Dow. “And it follows that communication infrastructure is key for sustainable development. Access to reliable and affordable communication technologies lifts people out of poverty and helps them to overcome the digital divide. Dow’s 2025 sustainability goals aim to engage for impact and delivering breakthrough innovations which is exactly what this project allows us to do.”
Lack of affordable access to electricity and subsequent lack of telecommunication infrastructure form the crux of the digital divide inhibiting poor rural community members from participating in meaningful socio-economic development in this region.
To address this problem in a sustainable way, a 40MW biomass power plant is planned to be constructed in Nsutem, Ghana.
The project has been sponsored by Village Corps and a Power Africa grant by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and has been advanced through the commitment and support of the Government of Ghana, the Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom and the Okyeman Environment Foundation.
The Project will address several UN Sustainable Development Goals, inclusive of #7 and #9 for clean and affordable energy and industry, innovation and infrastructure.
The Project will not only drastically increase the access to baseload renewable electricity, but also will help mitigate climate change and assist local community members to adapt to a changing climate, which contributes to the Paris Climate Accord.
“With the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure installed and operational, community members can have affordable data connectivity and will be trained in how to use their phones to benefit from various software solutions to help enable skills development and access to valuable information in areas such as primary education, farming, and healthcare,” said Norman Beaulieu, founder of Village Corps.
“WiFi infrastructure can no longer be considered a luxury, it is now an essential resource, and we believe that this project is taking important steps towards delivering this resource to an underserved community.”