Closing the Digital Divide for Farmworkers & Their Families: A Lesson for South Africa (A Siklu Case Study)
- 15 Jun, 2023
Closing the Digital Divide for Farmworkers & Their Families:
A Lesson for South Africa (A Siklu Case Study)
In a nation as diverse and agriculturally rich as South Africa, the issue of bridging the digital divide among farmworkers and their families is of paramount importance. The story of Cruzio, an innovative Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), partnering with Siklu to deliver wireless gigabits to the San Jerardo Cooperative in Salinas serves as an inspiring model for addressing similar challenges faced by farmworker communities in our own backyard.
South Africa's Agricultural Sector
Much like Salinas in the United States, is a vital pillar of our economy. The farmworker communities scattered across our countryside often find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide, lacking affordable and reliable internet access. This digital exclusion hampers educational opportunities for students, limits access to vital services, and restricts economic growth in these areas.
Just as the San Jerardo Cooperative was transformed from abandoned labour barracks into a vibrant community, many farmworker settlements in South Africa hold immense potential if provided with the necessary tools and connectivity. The cooperative nature of these communities, where residents come together to address their collective needs, mirrors the spirit of cooperation exhibited by Cruzio and Siklu in their endeavour to bridge the digital divide.
With its vast rural landscapes, faces similar challenges in terms of legacy network infrastructure and limited access to fibre-optic connectivity. The need to explore alternative solutions, such as wireless technologies like those employed by Siklu, becomes increasingly crucial in addressing the digital disparities in our agricultural regions. The lessons learned from the successful collaboration between Cruzio and Siklu can be adapted and applied to similar projects in South Africa, ensuring that reliable high-speed internet reaches our farmworker communities.
By emulating the Equal Access initiative pioneered by Cruzio, local organisations, government agencies, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa can join forces to create partnerships that prioritise closing the digital divide. The establishment of similar alliances, such as Equal Access Monterey Bay, where Cruzio collaborates with economic partnerships and broadband consortiums, can be replicated in our own context, bringing together the resources and expertise needed to tackle this pressing issue.
The Success of the San Jerardo Project
With its provision of high-speed internet access to 250 residents, showcases the transformative power of connectivity. South Africa can draw inspiration from this achievement, recognising that affordable and reliable internet access is not a luxury but a fundamental right for all citi\ens, regardless of their geographic location.
The relevance of Cruzio's story to South Africa lies in its ability to serve as a guiding light, demonstrating that with the right partnerships, technical expertise, and community engagement, we too can bridge the digital divide for our farmworker communities. By embracing innovative solutions and adopting a collaborative approach, we can ensure that present and future generations have access to the digital tools and opportunities they need to thrive in the modern world.
*This case study has been sourced from Siklu, to view the original case study, click on the link below: