Intel® She Will Connect
Intel® She Will Connect

Free Basics in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa

I have been thinking for a while on how to write an article on the value of accessing the internet and while I have composed it in my head over the last few weeks - there is a more pressing story I need to tell.  A story of a free resource that is available in many developing countries around the world (40 to be exact).  This resource is one that can bring women with a feature phone that can access the internet or a smart phone information that can be lifesaving, information that can be educational, information that can be informative.  

I am talking about Free Basics - a service brought to us by Facebook.  "Free Basics by Facebook provides people with access to useful services on their mobile phones in markets where internet access may be less affordable. The websites are available for free without data charges, and include content on things like news, employment, health, education and local information. By introducing people to the benefits of the internet through these websites, we hope to bring more people online and help improve their lives."  (Source:

On May 10th - Free Basics was launched in Nigeria with Airtel and 80+ content providers including Intel She Will Connect.  This is a great opportunity to access information for free, without data charges.  

Call to action:  Spread the word to your networks, teach women how to swap out SIM cards to access Free Basics if needed (tutorial to be posted shortly).  Use Free Basics yourself!

Here is a list of where Free Basics is available with the mobile operator included:

Africa & Middle East

Angola (Movicel) Benin (MTN) Cape Verde (Unitel) Democratic Republic of the Congo (Airtel, Tigo) Gabon (Airtel) Ghana (Airtel) Guinea (Cellcom) Guinea-Bissau (MTN) Iraq (Korek) Kenya (Airtel) Liberia (Cellcom) Malawi (Airtel & TNM) Mauritania (Mauritel) Mozambique (Mcel) Niger (Airtel) Nigeria (Airtel) Rwanda (Airtel) Senegal (Tigo) Seychelles (Airtel) South Africa (Cell C) Tanzania (Tigo) Zambia (Airtel)

Asia Pacific

Bangladesh (Grameenphone & Robi) Cambodia (Smart Axiata) Indonesia (Indosat) Maldives (Ooredoo) Mongolia (G-Mobile, Mobicom & Skytel) Pakistan (Telenor & Zong) Philippines (Globe & Smart) Thailand (DTAC & TrueMove) Timor-Leste (Telkomcel) Vanuatu (Telecom)

Latin America

Bolivia (Viva) Colombia (Tigo) El Salvador (Digicel) Guatemala (Tigo) Mexico (Virgin) Panama (Digicel) Peru (Entel) Suriname (Digicel)

Free Basics will continue to expand to more countries around the world. (Source:


Hello Marne,

Free Basics sounds like a great service! It's so important for individuals to stay connected through the Internet and social media platforms, and to stay educated, as well. It's great to hear how Free Basics is reaching out to individuals in developing countries, giving youth and individuals the opportunities, that can be accessed through the Internet, they may not have had due to previous financial situations. I look forward to hearing more about Free Basics!

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng

Hi Helen, 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my post.  One of our big challenges is awareness of Free Basics.  It is available to 1 billion people today yes only 25 million are accessing it.  I hope to continue this dialog on World Pulse and learn ideas from others on how to spread the word.  If women are not online we must reach them through other means to share information about how to get connected for free. 



Hi Marne,

This sounds great! And I agree with you that there remains the huge challenge of communicating this to benefit Nigerians, particularly women and girls. 

Right now, we are faced with the challenge of the introduction of a 9% Communications Service Tax (CST) Bill which would set back all our efforts at promoting digital literacy and Internet access for women and girls. We have raised a petition on which we are also trying to share widely so as to populate signatories to demand a stop to the passage of the CST Bill.

The petition is at this link:

Looking forward to exploring ideas to promote the Free Basics service and the Intel Easy Steps training platform is already a start.



Thank you for sharing this information Carolyn, it is quite helpful in understanding the challenges women are facing in Nigeria. With Free Basics women can access content from many providers while raising awareness of the tax impacts. I look forwarding to speaking with you soon. 



Hello Marne, Thanks for sharing this info. Really, if women are not online we must reach them through other means to share information about how to get connected for free.Free basics is a great tool to keep women and girls informed, but not yet in Cameroon. Warm regards.

Sophie Ngassa

Founder & Director at CYEED