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Google gives US$5 million to get more people and information online in Africa

Press Release

Google to help digitise archives of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

March 8th 2011, Nairobi –  Google has today announced a $1,25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, housed at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, that will help to preserve and give unprecedented digital access to thousands of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials about the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

Based in Johannesburg, the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory is committed to documenting records about the life of one of the world’s greatest statesmen.  Its objective is to use his legacy to foster meaningful dialogue and debate to promote social justice.

Google’s grant will assist in expanding the online Mandela archive and make it available to global audiences, scholars and researchers  in the future.  In addition to significant audio-visual materials, the online multimedia archive will include Mr Mandela’s letters and correspondence with family, comrades and friends; prison diaries; and notes he made while leading the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

“We are delighted that Google has come on board to help ensure that our Mandela Portal becomes a world class source of accurate and reliable information about Madiba,” said Verne Harris, head of the Centre of Memory.

A grant of the same size has also been made to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitisation of Desmond Tutu’s archives, and an interactive digital learning centre.

Commenting on the initiatives, Luke Mckend, Country Manager for Google South Africa said, “Google wants to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information.  Our grants to the Nelson Mandela Centre and to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre will facilitate new digital archives for South Africa’s past, giving the global public an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the history of some of the most extraordinary leaders of our time.  We are also delighted to be announcing additional grants which will help many more people across South Africa and Africa access the internet and benefit from access to information”.

Google today also announced three other grants of between $500,000 and $1,250,000, also made through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, to the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET)($750,000 for continued work to assist South African universities with Internet and information technology services), the Nigeria ICT Forum ($500,000 to support efforts in improving access to Internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria), and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) at the University of Oregon ($1,250,000 to enable more people in numerous African countries to participate in and contribute to the global Internet).

About the Grantees:

About the Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, through the Centre of Memory, contributes to the making of a just society by promoting the values, vision and work of our Founder. The Centre of Memory offers an integrated information resource on the life and times of Nelson Mandela, giving members of the public, scholars and fellow memory institutions across the globe access to relevant information, primarily through the internet and mobile phones. It also prioritises dialogue around critical social issues such as access to information, dealing with the past, and related issues.  Nelson Mandela International Day is the embodiment of these efforts, with its emphasis on remembering the past, stimulating dialogue and encouraging people to act (Memory, Dialogue and Action) in order to promote social justice.

About The Desmond Tutu Peace Centre

The Desmond Tutu Peace Centre aims to create and maintain a Peace Centre that will deliver programmes that promote conflict resolution, restore social justice to marginalised people and inspire leaders to be responsible and committed to the people they serve. It furthers the understanding that peace will flow out of justice and that there is essential good in everyone.

About the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET)

TENET is a non-profit, public benefit organisation whose members are the public universities and statutory research and innovation councils of South Africa.  TENET’s main purpose is to secure, for the benefit of these members and associated support institutions, Internet and information technology services, involving, inter-alia high-speed Internet access, inter-campus connectivity, ancillary operational functions in support of service delivery, and the provision of other value-added services as may be needed from time to time in support of higher education and research in South Africa.

About the Nigeria ICT Forum

Founded in 2005 and owned by Nigerian Research and Education Institutions, the Nigeria ICT Forum facilitates and nurtures collaborations between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Its mission is to cultivate a favourable policy environment and enable Nigerian HEIs to develop, utilise and sustain ICT networks, services and shared resources consistent with institutional roles as foci for development. The Nigeria ICT Forum hosts the Nigerian Network Operators Group and the Bandwidth Consortium, and is incubating the formation of the National Research and Education Network (NREN) and a broadband strategy framework for Nigeria.

About The Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC)

The Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) is a non-profit activity that has worked with many partner organizations over the past twenty years to help build Internet infrastructure and provide technical training in more than one hundred countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The NSRC works directly with the indigenous network engineers and operators who develop and maintain the Internet infrastructure in their respective countries and regions by providing technical information, engineering assistance, training, donations of networking books, equipment and other resources. The end goal in this work is to make it easier for local scientists, engineers, educators and students to collaborate via the Internet with their international colleagues by helping to connect communities of interest. By strategically working with universities, research institutes, Internet Service Providers, Regional Internet Registries, government agencies, supranational agencies, industry, private foundations and non-governmental organizations, the NSRC helps develop national and regional Internet infrastructure for collaborative research, education, and international partnerships.  The NSRC is partially funded by grant awards from U.S. National Science Foundation’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure and Office of International Science and Engineering Directorates, plus additional contributions from numerous other public and private organizations.

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