Telenor Pakistan and Facebook have launched the second installment of its knowledge-based initiative Internet Champion – iChamp, which includes a nationwide competition for school children and a reality show on national TV this year.
iChamp 2017’s goal is to touch secondary schools on a mass scale across Pakistan to educate youth on the benefits and safe use of the internet. The program will be supported by Facebook’s Free Basics project that provides free access to dozens of fun and learning websites.
Covering 76 districts across all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, an estimated 600,000 students will be trained by experts through Free Basics with free handbooks and other resources.
In the program’s first phase, iChamp training and competitions covering the responsible and positive use of the internet will be held at over 1,600 schools nationwide, with three students from each school shortlisted for the district-level competition.
In the second phase, a district-level competition will be held at the district HQ’s main school with all winning students from each school participating and three being shortlisted for the provincial level competition. The third phase will feature a provincial level competition to be held at the respective provincial capital where the district-level winners will compete and only three winners will be selected from each province.
The selected 12 students will proceed to compete in the iChamp reality show on national TV. This will be the first and the biggest show of its kind where students from across Pakistan will converge to support Telenor’s cause of digital inclusion and facilitating learning through mobile internet.
The 15-episode reality show will feature competitions based on using the internet productively and a grand finale where the ultimate iChamp will be announced. The show will also be powered by Free Basics with contenders looking for the right answers on their mobile phones and thus promoting the use of the cellular internet for education and learning.
“We are excited to be part of the Telenor iChamp which is a transformative initiative that aims to bridge the digital inclusion gap amongst the underserved youth in Pakistan,” said Ime Archibong, Director of Partnerships at Facebook.
“We have brought more than 50 million people online globally through Free Basics and through this partnership with Telenor iChamp we hope that every parent and student in Pakistan can take advantage of the internet for their learning and development.”
“It feels great to be back with the second, bigger and better installment of our Internet Champion program,” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan.
“Children are the future of our country and us at Telenor Pakistan are ready to go the extra mile to support and empower our youth. With a mission of empowering our society and a relentless commitment to promoting digital inclusion in the country, we will continue our efforts in the same direction with a passion that will help nurture a responsible digital generation,” he added.
Started in 2012, iChamp has been the key source of learning about the good and safe use of the internet for schoolchildren across Pakistan. In its first run in 2012-13, the program reached 1,603 schools and trained 632,289 students nationwide with 61,380 getting the ‘highly trained’ status.
iChamp is a strong platform that is supporting Telenor Pakistan in its incessant efforts to educate children on using the internet safely while accessing it for fun and learning. As part of these efforts, Telenor Pakistan recently launched an internet safety guide book in Urdu and English languages that helps parents talk to their children about internet safety.