'Connect to Learn’ Kicks off With 100 Scholarships in 100 Days and a Call for Action From Madonna

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Madonna, together with the Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise today officially launched Connect To Learn, a non-profit global education initiative to greatly improve both the access to and quality of secondary education for children around the world—especially girls. Connect To Learn provides three-year scholarships to attend secondary school and covers tuition, books, uniforms as well as access to broadband technology. The first 100 scholarships will be provided in Millennium Villages in Ghana and Tanzania within the next 100 days.

During this week, with the spotlight on public and private partners working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the Connect To Learn initiative is a shining example of what can be achieved together.

Madonna, together with the Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise today officially launched Connect To Learn, a non-profit global education initiative to greatly improve both the access to and quality of secondary education for children around the world—especially girls. Connect To Learn provides three-year scholarships to attend secondary school and covers tuition, books, uniforms as well as access to broadband technology. The first 100 scholarships will be provided in Millennium Villages in Ghana and Tanzania within the next 100 days.

Today Connect To Learn also starts a broad public awareness and fundraising campaign, supported by Madonna, called “Answer the Call”, which highlights that scholarships can be provided for less than $2 a day. Individuals can make donations through http://www.ConnectToLearn.org or by texting CONNECT to 20222 (in the US).

“Millions of girls and young women around the world—particularly in poor rural areas—don’t have the chance to attend school beyond the primary level. It is estimated that around three of every four girls in sub-Saharan Africa are currently unable to attend secondary school,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute. “This partnership—of Connect To Learn and the Millennium Village Project —will enable girls to attend secondary school, and will connect their schools to the same online educational resources available to students anywhere in the world. Connecting young women in all parts of the world to school, to the Internet, and to each other, will change their lives and our world for the better.”

“Broadband connectivity is now vital everywhere in the world for a quality education. In regions like Africa, mobile subscriptions have far surpassed access to fixed phone lines and will be the ubiquitous access point for communication. Through this initiative, students all over the world will have access to the same education and information no matter where they are,” said Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson. “During this week, with the spotlight on public and private partners working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the Connect To Learn initiative is a shining example of what can be achieved together.”

Representing a unique partnership between non-profit, business, education and inspired individuals, Connect To Learn is calling for organizations around the world to join with its founding partners in providing financial and in-kind support to provide new pathways to economic and personal empowerment through secondary education.

“When a girl in a poor village gets a good education, she can better protect her health, make a better living and raise a healthy family—improving her life and the lives of the people around her,” said John W. McArthur, CEO, Millennium Promise. “We ask individuals and organizations everywhere to offer their knowledge, resources and leadership to vastly expand access to the Internet in rural schools across the globe—helping millions of girls worldwide get quality secondary education and opening the door to a new world.”

Part of the funds for each scholarship are devoted to the provision of mobile broadband access so that children in rural areas can get access to the best online educational resources and connect with schoolchildren from other parts of the world. Launched in conjunction with the Broadband Commission for Digital Development’s call for ‘Broadband Inclusion for All’ and the 10-year anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals, Connect To Learn is the perfect example of how access to mobile broadband technology can help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

About Connect To Learn
Connect To Learn is a not for profit global education initiative designed by Ericsson, Millennium Promise, and the Earth Institute as Scientific Advisor, to ensure a 21st century secondary education for all - especially girls - by providing scholarships for secondary education, and using ICT to connect classrooms and improve access to quality educational resources around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.ConnectToLearn.org/ and follow us at http://twitter.com/ConnectToLearn and http://www.facebook.com/connectolearn.

About Earth Institute
Earth Institute, Scientific Advisor to Connect To Learn, is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment, and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core scientific disciplines and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. http://www.earth.columbia.edu.

About Ericsson
Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 80,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.
http://www.ericsson.com
http://www.twitter.com/ericssonpress
http://www.facebook.com/technologyforgood
http://www.youtube.com/ericssonpress

About Millennium Promise
Millennium Promise is an internationally recognized and US-registered nonprofit organization founded in 2005. As the leader in the global movement to end extreme poverty, it is mobilizing a growing alliance of public, private and nonprofit partners who share its commitment to sustainable development and scaling-up effective ideas. Its mission is to achieve the MDGs by showing how the Goals are accessible and achievable, building momentum for success through advocacy, innovation and a practical, holistic approach to building sustainable communities. MP’s flagship initiative is the Millennium Villages project, providing operational support to the Millennium Villages, coordinating with EI on technical and scientific advice, leading business development and private sector initiatives, and acting as the primary fundraiser for the Millennium Villages. MP is also the center for public outreach and advocacy on the MVP. http://www.millenniumpromise.org
Call us to find out how you or your organization can partner with Connect To Learn.

Donate at http://www.ConnectToLearn.org or text CONNECT to 20222.

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