“Smart Douars”: When Technology Transforms Solidarity into Digital Oases

A promising second deployment phase

The Association of Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Offshoring Professionals in Morocco (APEBI) not only aims to boost digitization in the region but has also demonstrated its commitment to solidarity and innovation. In a remarkable gesture, APEBI has successfully transformed the douars affected by the Al Haouz earthquake into true “digital oases” in the heart of the mountains.

The “Smart Douar” Project: An Exemplary Solidarity Initiative

“Smart Douar” is the title of this solidarity project initiated and supported by APEBI. The project aims to maintain Internet connectivity in the douars of the Al Haouz Province affected by the earthquake by deploying satellite Internet connection kits powered by solar energy. Through the installation of solar panels, LEDs, and satellite Internet kits, these communities have been able to maintain their connection with the rest of the world, even in challenging conditions.

Phases and Concrete Achievements

A new crucial step for “Smart Douars” was marked on January 21 with the deployment in partnership with SOS Villages d’Enfants Maroc. The 3rd phase of the project allowed the installation of 5 facilities, followed by phase 4, which includes 27 installations. This represents an impressive total of 40 installations by mid-February 2024. These deployments were made possible through close collaboration with SOS Villages d’Enfants Maroc, Edukaskills Solidarity Foundation, and other partners in the APEBI ecosystem.

Technological and Financial Advancements

Driss Ghafes, President of APEBI’s Solidarity Commission, highlighted significant advances in the latest phase of the “Smart Douars” project. This includes expanding the project to 8 douars (including areas such as Ighil at the epicenter and Aghbar, the farthest and poorest), increasing the bandwidth from 30 to 40 Mbps, reducing the budget per installation from 25,000 to 15,000 dirhams, and integrating a 6m mast with outdoor WiFi covering a range of 200m. The installations are now deployed on temporary schools, promoting access to education in these remote regions. The physical site survey before installations, in partnership with Nortis for all services, underscores the thoughtful and planned approach of the project. These installations were exclusively carried out in villages already connected to electricity, eliminating the need for solar solutions.

Special mention should be made of Youssef Koutari, entrepreneur, influencer, and founder of “Kout que Kout,” whose fundraising efforts have fully financed the ongoing 32 installations, demonstrating international support for this cause.

Key Players: Engines of Change

The success of this project relies on the exceptional mobilization of several contributors. Mounir Senhaji, Khalid Chafaqui, and Youssef Harouchi from APEBI’s Solidarity Committee have played a crucial role from the beginning, demonstrating that solidarity and commitment are the pillars of innovation.

“Smart Douars” is more than just a technological project. It is a concrete example of how technology, supported by a vision of solidarity, can transform communities affected by natural events into digital oases, thereby strengthening the positive impact of information technologies in Morocco. Through this initiative, APEBI positions itself as a major player in promoting solidarity and innovation for the benefit of society.

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