Satellites and safaris don’t appear to be a traditional pairing, but they are in fact the ideal complement in Singita’s latest community development initiative. “Teaching & Technology”, which launched last month, is a partnership programme between the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Singita Community Development Trust and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The project, which demonstrates how satellite communications can assist educators in rural areas, will roll out in 12 primary schools in the communities neighbouring the Sabi Sand Reserve. Web-based solutions will be used to upskill and train local teachers, who will ultimately share this benefit with learners and their entire communities.
The ESA, together with partners Openet (Italy) and SES (Luxembourg), has outfitted each of the participating schools with satellite terminals, along with equipment including laptops, tablets, projectors and loudspeakers. Singita’s role is to manage the programme and to work alongside the Education Department to train and mentor the 200 teachers from these schools. The company will also be providing technical support to the schools in order to ensure the sustainability of such technology-based programmes in remote locations.
“Singita’s goal is to create a model (to enhance teacher quality in rural areas), which can be replicated throughout Africa,” says Pam Richardson, Community Development Director at Singita. “The lack of resources and qualified educators are problems faced by rural communities across the continent.”
The prosperity of the local community is a critical component in Singita’s success. The company’s eco-tourism philosophy is hinged not only on the hospitality provided by the lodges, but equally on sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities. Singita runs a number of thriving community development projects, making a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around its lodges.