Making Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Community Owned Wireless Networks work for the Rural Poor is the main aim of ZittNet, a department of Fantsuam Foundation. It is tailored to develop its products and services alongside Fantsuam’s existing programmes in health, education and microfinance.The long term vision is to be the leading provider of internet and wireless application services in Southern Kaduna, serve 100,000 rural community dwellers through products and services and create 1,000 ICT related jobs in 5 years. ZittNet is to bridge the digital divide through providing pro-poor ICT products and services as it works to achieve Fantsuam Foundation’s key goals of poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods.
Zittnet began when Fantsuam Foundation (FF) established the first rural-based information and communication technology (ICT) education facilities in Nigeria in 2001, in Bayan Loco, Kafanchan. The school’s first intake of 11 students has now grown to 250 by 2005. That year, Fantsuam Foundation was awarded the first Hafkin Africa Prize for the innovative use of ICT (http://www.apc.org/english/hafkin/2001/haf_finalists.shtml).The Foundation has also won several awards for its work, including the first rural Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Nigeria, first rural Cisco networking academy in Nigeria and winner of the First Global Knowledge Partnership Seed Grant and Small Innovative Projects Fund.
ZittNet provides basic and intermediate level computer skills training in addition to the Cisco Networking program. All students currently attending the Academy are offered a 30% discount in school fees through a grant provided by the Fantsuam Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation is a technical partner of Inveneo for the provision of low-power Inveneo computers. These computers are complimeted by Fantsuam's solar back-up. The combination of low-power computers and solar power back up makes it possible for Fantsuam to provide ISP 24/7. This is no mean acheivement for a rural community where there is no reliable grid.