Amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, one of Liberia’s leading GSM companies, Orange Liberia, has announced that it is granting free access to online educational content to students and teachers while all schools and universities are closed. The company says that the new service is part of an ongoing series of measures aimed at easing some of the issues being faced by Liberians as a result of the global emergency.
Ms. Sarah Buchanan, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Internal Communication for Orange Liberia stated that Orange had been working round the clock to set up a web site called Orange Campus Africa, which will give customers access to a large range of educational materials. She explained that Orange Campus Africa could be accessed online though the link: https://kiwix.campusafrica.gos.orange.com/en/ and that Orange customers would be able to utilize the materials without using any data credits.
“Orange customers who don’t have data will still be able to visit the web site and enjoy the wealth of educational materials provided,” said Ms. Buchanan, “those who have data can also visit the website and none of their data balance will be consumed while they browse, read or study from the site.” She explained that Orange had made the access to the site free to give teachers and students an opportunity to continue to study and advance themselves while schools and universities were shut down due to the national health emergency.
The web site includes a host of resource partners including Khan Academy which provides a access to various lessons and tutorials in math, science, economics and finance, arts and humanities, and test preparation guides. Other content providers include Wikibooks, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia. While each of these providers has a range of content for all ages, there is also specific content for younger children including Vikidia which caters to children between the ages of 8 – 13 years old.
Project Gutenberg, a volunteer based effort to digitize and archive cultural works is one of the sites included in the program. It gives users access to more than 60,000 books including classics such as Pride and prejudice, Moby Dick, The Leviathan, and Crime and Punishment. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Prince and Peter Pan are a few of the many children’s classics included in the online library, combined with Wikibooks. The resource therefore provides more than 70,000 e-books, all of which are available to read and download by Orange Liberia’s customers without exhausting data credits.
On his side, Mr. Noel Chateau, Chief Marketing, Communication and Customer eXperience Officer added that this launch was coming in addition to several free services available and measures already taken by Orange, such as the availability of Facebook Flex (free browsing of Facebook without images and videos), Free basics (free browsing on several Web sites including goal.com or bbc.com/news), the waiving of Orange Money fees for money transfer, merchant payments and bank to wallet transfers with UBA. Mr Chateau also indicated that the company was working on new offers which would help to reduce the burden that Liberians are facing during the crisis. He concluded his intervention by asking customers to regularly visit Orange Liberia’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts where information and tips to fight coronavirus and prevent it from spreading are regularly provided. Customers needing to contact Orange should prefer to use Facebook Messenger @orangelib rather than calling the Call Center which has reduced capacity in order to increase social distance between the staff.