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Vodafone Donates $1 Million in Support of Web Foundation Initiatives

Web Foundation · March 16, 2010

Grant to Fund Training of Entrepreneurs in Africa.

The World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the Web to empower people, announced today that the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company Vodafone Group, will donate $1 million toward projects that will train entrepreneurs in Africa to leverage the Web as a platform for delivering locally relevant content, applications and services. Some of the funding will also go to research on what needs to be done to make the Web more accessible and valuable to people in developing economies.

While only 25 percent of the world population uses the Web today, more than 70 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile or fixed communication devices capable of displaying Web content. In Africa, where the Internet penetration rate is approximately 6.8 percent, furthering Web access can create learning opportunities for local entrepreneurs and support the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to end poverty by 2015. Vodafone’s $1 million grant over a three year period is intended to help the Web Foundation understand the barriers to mobile Web access in Africa and support efforts to train social and economic entrepreneurs to create relevant Web content that is also accessible – even simple mobile phones. [post continues beneath the video]

“It is clear that the creation of the World Wide Web combined with the growing ubiquity of mobile technology presents us with a unique opportunity to drive positive change,” said Vittorio Colao, CEO Vodafone Group. “The work of the Foundation will help us understand how society is adapting to new technologies. We will use the insights to help shape the communications infrastructure of the future in order to give as many people as possible access to the benefits that the Web provides.”

As part of its support, Vodafone invited the Web Foundation to join its research panel which looks into the Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile (SIM) in society. The current SIM project is exploring the impact of mobile broadband in emerging economies. The results are expected in autumn 2010.

Vodafone has long been committed to providing products and services designed to benefit emerging economies where mobiles are used, valued and owned in ways that are very different from developed countries. For example Vodafone recently announced the release of ultra low cost handsets (ULCH) which will retail at under $15 and are intended to give those on low incomes the opportunity to share in the benefits of mobile technology for the first time.

“As a member of our Founders Circle, Vodafone strengthens our grass-roots initiatives to help people leverage the Web and improve the quality of their lives,” explained Steve Bratt begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Chief Executive Officer of Web Foundation ”Vodafone’s donation will also support our research efforts to understand the technical and social barriers to making the Web of real value to people.”

Founded by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Web Foundation announced its first projects last November at the 2009 Internet Governance Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The Foundation’s work helps local communities and international organizations, such as CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion) and the Web Alliance for Re-greening in Africa (W4RA), design, implement and deploy mobile Web content to accelerate learning and economic progress in developing economies and urban areas.

“In developing countries, mobile phones can be used to get online, but few people have access to the Web,” said Berners-Lee, Founder of Web Foundation. “We want to understand how Web access mutually relates to health and economic development in the next few years.”

1 Internet Usage and Population Statistics provided by Internet World Stats are for September 30, 2009

Media inquiries should be directed to:

World Wide Web Foundation. Vera Newhouse, Tel: +1 212 819 4878, Email:

Vodafone Group. Caroline Dewing, Tel: +44 (0) 1635 664444, Email:

About Vodafone

Vodafone Group Plc is the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company, with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States through the Company’s subsidiary undertakings, joint ventures, associated undertakings and investments.

At 30 September 2009, based on the registered customers of mobile telecommunications ventures in which it had ownership interests at that date, the Group had 323 million customers, excluding paging customers, calculated on a proportionate basis in accordance with the Company’s percentage interest in these ventures.

About World Wide Web Foundation

World Wide Web Foundation develops transformative programs to advance the Web as a medium that empowers people to bring about positive change. Created under a seed grant from the John S and James L Knight Foundation, the Web Foundation brings together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, experts, developers and end users to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale. By funding education, outreach, research and the next generation of Web technologies, Web Foundation strives to enable all people to share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance and communicate in creative ways. Web Foundation is a registered tax exempt, public charity in Switzerland and the United States. Please visit for more information about Web Foundation and its new programs.

LONDON and BOSTON – March 17, 2010

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  1. social network web development

    March 18, 2010

    This is an excellent and ingenious Bravo and thank you very much for sharing!


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    1. RickWaghorn

      March 21, 2010

      Dear All,Be great to sit down and talk about this some more; think we could join some interesting dots together. etc


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      1. becky

        March 22, 2010

        This is great. I'm an entrepreneur in Africa and I would like to be a part of this training program. Please let me know the steps.


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        1. Steve Bratt

          March 23, 2010

          Becky,The details of how people will be selected to the entrepreneur training program s are still under development. Watch this space, probably in the late 3rd or 4th quarter of 2010.Steve


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        2. Herman Tonderai Karimakwenda

          May 30, 2010

          Way to go guys. Just like all my folks l'm eagerly awaiting the taking-off of the both the program/project and Africa. Am a young Councillor with the City of Harare and would be glad if you can consider some of us down here. please keep us posted of any developments.kindest regards,Councillor


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