Connected Rural Villages (Kebele)
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In the rural areas citizens are forced to travel an hour or even more to access telephone. They need to communicate with their family members, friends, health and agricultural officers etc. in a distance. Often they have to travel for an hour or even more to convey some information. They lose time and money by being away from work.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The initiative is a part of the Rural Connectivity Program of the country to connect each village (called Kebele in Amharic language) in the country, at least one voice and data line within 5 kilometer distance. It is also a part of the ICT Policy of the country to connect all the 16,000 villages and 15,642 are already connected.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
With the principle of giving access to all citizens the initiative is not profit driven rather it is about impartiality and equity. The initiative is to connect the unconnected one. The initiative is creative because of a number of reasons. First, each access point is managed by the community at the village usually youths. Second, each village line is wireless and supplied from solar power to solve the unavailability of the commercial power. Third, all the lines are capable to access voice and data so that those centers can be an access point to Government E-Services in future. The first phase to give voice access is completed, 98% of the villages are connected. The remaining 2% don’t have wireless coverage currently.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In implementing the project a high level unit from Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), the Ethio-telecom and the regional ICT Agencies has been established to follow the day-to-day progress until coverage is achieved. It is implemented as part of public commitment to the citizens and fully government driven by giving the responsibility to Ethio-telecom.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is the owner of the project and the implementer is Ethio-telecom. The respective regional ICT Agencies are also part of the project to coordinate at their regions in identifying the village committee, location, people who attend the access line.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The resource is fully covered by the Government, the Ethio-telecom, to bring connectivity. The local community has participated to facilitate a 4X3 metter house at the central point of the village. After the lies are functional each individuals using the line will pay for the air time they used.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Individuals in the village use the connectivity to convey any information without being away from home and working site. They can exchange market information, personal information, etc. They use also the line I case of emergency to contact each other, to seek advice from health or agricultural officer, etc. Because the line is also support data, it can be easily used to access government e-services in future by putting some additional infrastructure like personal computers, printers, etc.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The implementation is monitored by establishing a national level committee from all stakeholders to solve issues raised while implementing. A formal report is communicated on how the villagers are using the line, what challenges are occurred at village level, etc. All the access points are monitored by Ethio-telecom from the center using a system and support and regular supervision is conducted to evaluate the project.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The challenge while implementing was road access in some areas. This challenge was solved by involving the villager and the local community. The other challenge at the beginning was the revenue sharing scheme between the village committee members and the Ethio-telecom. This challenge was solved by revising the scheme so that it will be attractive for the villagers.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The main benefit is connecting the unconnected one. It is a national principle and policy to bring equity in the existing telecom infrastructure. The policy is to share the existing resources equally to all citizens so that they will play role in the national development plan.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative has two steps (phases). The first one is bringing connectivity to the village level, concentrating more on voice. This phase is completed by connecting 98% of the villages. The second phase is to establish a Communication Centers at each village (Kebele). This includes the data and other services like printing, internet access, fax, photo copy, postal services, etc. The second phase will start in the 2014/15 fiscal year. The ownership is created by the village community already to guaranty the sustainability. The business model is also one factor to affect the sustainability positively.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The project connects the whole country in a maximum of 5 KM in the rural area. The implementation was possible by involving all the stakeholders including the local community.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Debretsion Gebremichael
Title:   Deputy Prime Minister level Minister  
Telephone/ Fax:   +251-115503973/+251-115503974
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   debre@mcit.gov.et  
Address:   Mexico Square, Addis Ababa
Postal Code:   1028
City:   Addis Ababa
State/Province:   Addis Ababa
Country:  

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