Vodafone Foundation launches ‘Instant Schools For Africa’ to bring advanced educational resources to millions of young Africans

The Vodafone Foundation and Vodafone today announced the launch of one of the largest philanthropic programmes in the Vodafone Foundation’s 25-year history.

Mission Statement

Through a unique network of 27 local Foundations and social investment programmes, Vodafone invests in the communities in which it operates.

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Pioneering new ‘ambulance taxi’ service could help save at least 2,700 lives of pregnant mothers and babies in rural Tanzania each year

  • First-of-its-kind service launched in districts in Tanzania where maternal and infant mortality rates believed to be among highest in the world
  • Districts Sengerema and Shinyanga are about the size of Belgium, have a population of at least two million and only 10 ambulances
  • Vodafone’s M-Pesa used to pay taxi drivers when high-risk expectant mothers, many of whom are teenagers, are brought to hospital

Many hundreds of high-risk pregnant women in an area of Tanzania around the size of Belgium are not surviving pregnancy or are losing their babies as there is no means of getting them to hospital.

In response, a pioneering new toll-free emergency line has been launched by the Vodafone Foundation - alongside its NGO partners Pathfinder International and Touch Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The emergency line  - equivalent to 112 in Europe, 911 in the US and 999 in the UK - could help save around 225 women’s and babies’ lives a month, and will see a network of 100 taxi drivers responding to emergency calls, taking pregnant women on what is often a three-hour journey to reach the nearest hospital. Once women arrive at hospital, the emergency taxi drivers are paid using Vodafone’s mobile payment service M-Pesa. A trial of the taxi service late last year in a small area of Sengerema saved the lives of 323 women and babies.

Malala Yousafzai, Vint Cerf, Muhtar Kent, Sir Martin Sorrell and Paul Polman to teach lessons by video call to young people in refugee camps

  • Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR project has started with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Huawei chairwoman Madam Sun Yafang and Jonah Capital Chairman Sir Samuel Jonah
  • Project is part of Vodafone Foundation’s wider Instant Network Schools programme, which provides tablet-based teaching in refugee camps in Africa
  • News follows launch of United Nations campaign this week to make internet access universal by 2020


Supporting HIV+ children in Lesotho

The Vodafone Foundation is working with Vodacom Lesotho, the Ministry of Health and other partners to get a generation of HIV+ young people on to treatment in Lesotho.

There are an estimated 19,000 young people in Lesotho living with HIV, of which less than 6,000 are on treatment.  The Vodafone Foundation wants to ensure that every child living with this illness can access treatment and is looking at mobile technology solutions that can be implemented to bridge this gap. 

The Vodafone Foundation M-Pesa ‘Text to Treatment’ model, currently used in Tanzania in the context of maternal health care is being rolled out in Lesotho. Using the mobile money payment system, the programme will look to identify and support the travel costs of those children living with HIV/AIDS who have not been accessing healthcare. 

The programme also aims to increase the number of women accessing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) which prevents transmission from HIV+ mothers to their new-born children.

The programme will also provide mobile clinics that reach mothers and children in the rural communities where they live – for many communities this will be the first time that this primary health care provision has existed.


First Instant Classrooms deployed in Kakuma

In July the Vodafone Foundation deployed the first of the Instant Classroom kits. 

The digital ‘school in a box’, launched at Mobile World Congress in March 2015, was designed to support the roll out of the Vodafone Foundation’s Instant Network Schools programme.  A team of trained Vodafone volunteers delivered the first Instant Classroom units to Greenlight Secondary School in the Kakuma Refugee camp where 1,200 students will benefit from the equipment.  

Each Instant Classroom unit is shipped in a secure and robust 52kg case which is equipped with a laptop, 25 tablets pre-loaded with educational software, a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity. The tablets can connect to the laptop locally, enabling teachers to deliver content and applications to students without the need to access the internet.

“The first deployment was a real success, we were able to train the teachers and deliver state of the art technology to kids that really need it.”

Alexandru Toader, Instant Network volunteer from Vodafone Romania

The impact of Instant Network Schools

Instant Network Schools help thousands of refugee children in need of education.

An Instant Network Classroom is a solar-powered centre with tablets that give children and teachers access to digital educational content and the internet in some of the world’s most poorly resourced refugee camps.

The immediate benefits of the programme are:

  • Enhanced access to resources, information and knowledge
  • Improvement in quality of learning through edu­cational programme broadcasting, including lan­guage skills
  • Access to tailored curriculum based on language and prior educational background of refugee chil­dren
  • Increased student motivation


Long-term benefits are:

  • Increased access to jobs
  • Better integration in the host country
  • Increased capacity to rebuild their lives when re­patriated to native countries
  • Critical for grooming future leaders for peace and stability of conflict-sensitive areas

Local Foundations


A list of the Vodafone Foundation's trustees

  • Nick Land
  • Margherita Della Valle
  • Elizabeth Filkin
  • Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE
  • Jeroen Hoencamp
  • Matthew Kirk
  • Francisco Roman
  • Ronald Schellekens
  • Helen Lamprell
  • Mwamvita Makamba
  • Andrew Dunnett

Registered charity number

The Vodafone Foundation received recognition as registered charity from the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 4 December 2001.

Vodafone Foundation UK registered charity number 1089625.

Applications for funding

The Foundation receives an average of 12,000 requests per year for funding and support. While seeking to respond to all requests for information, it normally approaches only those charitable organisations which it believes can help in the delivery of its charitable aims.

Annual Review

Read the Vodafone Foundation's annual review for the year.