The Kalinago get a Boost as UNDP and Partners Expand Community Wi-Fi Coverage

January 17, 2023

UNDP Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb (left) presenting equipment to the Honourable Cozier Frederick Minister of the Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment and Constituency Empowerment (right)

Connectivity is key to progress, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is collaborating with the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica to ensure that the indigenous people within the Kalinago Community have equal opportunities for internet connectivity.   Through the combined partnership of the Governments of Canada, India, Japan and the UK, UNDP is expanding the reach of Community Wi-Fi which will furnish the Kalinago Council with additional Wi-Fi hardware/technology to adequately equip the Kalinago community with increased internet accessibility.

Previously only 55% of the Kalinago Territory had access to internet. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted this deficiency as the world turned to digital solutions; education, remote work and other online tools are difficult to access and manage without a reliable source of internet connectivity, putting the Kalinago at a further disadvantage.  As such, to strengthen the institutional structures in this new post COVID era, UNDP is providing assistance to increase the networks capacity to reach all 8 hamlets. This will result in internet access for 100% of the Kalinago community and address the communication needs of the Kalinago Council and the community.

“Access to internet, interconnectedness and access to first class digital equipment is a tremendous opportunity to further the Kalinago heritage and traditions in both Dominica and the rest of the world, helping spread the Kalinago story, which will foster increased awareness and support the sustainability of the community,” Limya Eltayeb, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean noted at the hand over event which took place on Monday 9 January, 2023. 

“We are delighted to be a part of this activity which is directly linked to enhancing capacity, resilience and providing the means to contribute by reaching the needs of the most vulnerable.” she said.

The Wi-Fi equipment provided comprised of twelve (12) nodes which will allow for improved internet coverage and connectivity. This will support the Kalinago community to better access and to take advantage of the digital economy. Additionally, UNDP is working closely with the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica to advance the countries ’s progress towards a digital society, as a key pillar to build resilience of livelihoods and the economy. UNDP piloted its Digital Readiness Assessment tool, launched a programme to help build digital skills of Dominicans to access the gig economy, and supported the government in a consultative process to develop Dominica’s Digital Transformation strategy to guide the Government’s implementation of a USD 27 Million World Bank Loan.

The Resident Representative participated in the handover ceremony as part of her first official visit to the island where she presented her Letter of Credence to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica received by the Honourable Dr. Vince Henderson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy.  The Resident Representative also had the opportunity to meet with key partners and separately government ministers and the Honourable Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, where empowering youth, protecting the vulnerable and enhancing energy efficiency where discussed.  This mission also included visits to UNDP project sites to gauge impact on resilience building and sustainability of livelihoods.

It is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience, building forward better build and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region. This intervention is aligned to UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s   commitment to promoting social inclusion and ensuring no one is left behind.