Bridging the digital divide Madagascar

IT Cup project, Miarinarivo, Itasy region

2012 - Ongoing
Published on Feb 01, 2012 01:00 AM  -  Updated on Aug 09, 2023 11:55 AM
Improve the living conditions of the population of the Itasy Region by using Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to create social links, responding to local priority issues for sustainable development

Context: Digital divide
Start date: 01/02/2012
End date: Ongoing
Areas of intervention: Miarinarivo, Itasy

  • Internet access
  • Digital education
  • ICT for development

700 visits per month


Miarinarivo is the capital of the Itasy region, in central Madagascar, 3 hours’ drive from the capital Antananarivo. The Itasy region is predominantly rural; it has many assets to promote sustainable and profitable development for the population. The city of Miarinarivo centralises all the administrative bodies of the region and it is also home to many schools where children from the surrounding countryside come to study.

In 2011, the city had no access to public internet. TSF set up an internet access point with the funds collected by the IT Cup the previous year. Partner since 2006, the IT Cup is an NGO organizing a charity football tournament for companies in the new technologies sector. It has a broadband internet connection, computers and digital equipment and spaces adapted to the various multisectoral activities of the centre.

The aim of the project is to participate in the development of the region through the introduction of digital tools and connectivity by working in close collaboration with local stakeholders and by including activities related to various sectors such as education, health and agriculture. The IT Cup Centre has become a dynamic and important community player in the city of Miarinarivo by offering ICT at the service of local issues.

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The internet café was the first activity set up at the IT Cup Centre as soon as it was opened. It offers the inhabitants of Miarinarivo direct access to computer equipment and an internet connection, while having the necessary tools: printer, scanner, etc., to carry out personal work.
The cybercafé has an average of 700 entries per month, with users mainly between the ages of 16-25 years old, made up 2/3 of boys and men, and of 1/3 girls and women.

Introduction to computers

The IT Cup Centre has initiated partnerships with local schools (Miarinarivo High School, Mimosa High School and CEG Reference). According to their age, students in these institutions receive an introduction to computers (word processing, spreadsheet, internet, e-mails). Students are divided into two groups of up to 10 pupils. Personalised assessment systems allow each student to become aware of their skills and progress.
Usually, before the training, more than half of the students has never used a computer.

Madagascar ITCup - Infographic pupil's level before training

Internet safety

TSF is fully aware of the potential, but also of the risks children might take online. For this reason, in all the activities proposed, special attention is always paid to raise awareness on such risks. Children are taught, for example, about the risks of the Internet, how to remain safe online, how to find and recognise reliable resources, etc. 

The Safer Internet Day took place on May 12th, 2022 in Miarinarivo. It is a European initiative aimed at raising awareness among young Internet users concerning the issues surrounding the use of the Internet: digital identity and personal data, social networks, cyber harassment, etc. As part of the IT Cup programme, this international day is an opportunity for the people of Miarinarivo to discover the uses of Internet, with a view to developing responsible use which is adapted to local development issues.

Extra-curricular activities

In partnership with the Alabri centre, free extracurricular activities are offered to all children in the city. During these activities, digital resources are used to allow children to learn in a fun way.

Technical Club

Learning the basics of programming and robotics in a fun and engaging way; this is what the technical club is all about. This weekly activity, targeting children and youth between 8-18 years old, equips them with basic digital skills through different tools including Scratch, Mbots, or Fischertechnik blocks. Progressively difficult challenges in these activities help children learn and progress at their own pace. They can also realise small projects and games such as conveyor belts, multiplication tables, snake games among many others.
Thanks to the technical club children learn essential digital skills for their future, as well as soft skills through the collaboration with their peers to solve the challenges, in a very interactive way.

Creative activities

Children are a mine of creativity; every week at the IT Cup centre they have the opportunity to express it under the guidance of TSF’s animators. Thanks to the support of tablets and online tutorials, participants learn how to draw animals with their fingers, how to create paper hot-air balloons, origamis, colourful greeting cards and many other handcrafts. 

After-school support

Every Saturday, students from the region can come to the IT Cup centre for an after-school support session. Different TSF animators and local professors are available to help them on different subjects such as Science, Maths or Physics. To support their learning, students have also access to digital tools like tablets, laptops, Internet, online videos etc.

Cartography club

In collaboration with OpenStreetmap Madagascar, this weekly activity offers young participants the opportunity to learn the basics of cartography. In addition to theoretical and practical cartography sessions, participants also learn how to use OpenStreeMap and contribute to the map of the Itasy region.

Moreover, for the second consecutive year, the event GIRLS IN MAP - named in honour of the International Women’s Day - aims to introduce women to mapping technologies like OpenStreetMap. According to the UN, women are still under-represented in the digital and mapping sectors – this is one of the reasons why Irinah Arson, project manager of the IT Cup Centre in Madagascar, organised the event. For women living in rural areas, it is also an opportunity to have better access to technology and to improve their skills and profile for future employment opportunities. (Learn more by reading our newsletter).

Board games

During this activity, children can play different educational games on tablets, specifically selected by TSF staff. They can have fun with their friends and peers, while learning not only how to use tablets, but also learning more on different topics such as maths, logic, social inclusion, etc.

Malagasy tales

During this activity, children read or watch videos narrating French and Malagasy fairy tales and then proceed to do some exercises based on the content of these stories. The tales are selected by TSF’s staff to make sure participants do not only have fun, but can also learn morals and values that can be useful in their lives. This is an opportunity for them to remain close to their own culture by learning more about traditional fairy tales, while practicing their French. This activity also aims at enhancing the children's curiosity, by opening their minds to others cultures.

Data collection to improve access to drinking water

The town of Soavinandriana, the newly created institute for Higher Education (IESSI) initiated a study on the existing water structures in the area. Whilst there are several structures in place, there is currently no formal register listing them all. The IESSI initiated a project in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux aiming at indexing and analysing information relating to local water sources.

The IT Cup Centre was called upon for the data collection phase of the project, and trained IESSI students in the use of tablets for data collection.

The tablets enabled students to efficiently carry out a thorough inventory of the local water sources, notably sanitary facilities. Students were also able to take geo-tagged photos of the water points for better referencing.

These data were then centralised on a map provided in alliance with Open Street Map Madagascar. The map of the commune of Soavinandriana has also been updated thanks to this survey project.

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Many young women in Madagascar are obliged to do household chores and learn how to take care of their family to be ready to be a mother. Only those who have enough financial resources to pay for very expensive courses can afford to learn digital skills. The IT Cup Centre is very important because it helps them not only in their personal development, but it also improves their digital skills.” – Irinah, IT Cup Centre Coordinator

"I signed up for the digital holiday activity because I want to learn and play at the same time. I am very happy to learn how to use a digital tablet. I knew how to turn it on and off, open and close the applications I need; now I've learned to create stories and tell them through comics. At the moment, I'm mostly using games, but soon I will be able to do research for my work at school" – Kenny, 13-year-old beneficiary

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