Last updated: 27 january, 2010 - 10:50 GMT

When mobile internet phones came to a rural Nigerian village

In pictures: mobile internet in gitata

For the On/Off project, the BBC click puts a remote Nigerian community online, while families in click South Korea struggle without the net.

In some parts of the world, getting connected to the internet is a major challenge.

In January, Komla Dumor sent this report from Gitata, a village in northern Nigeria.

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

Six weeks later, Komla went back to Gitata to see what impact the internet was having on the community.

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

At the end of the project, Komla asked people in Gitata if they felt having internet access had changed their lives.

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

The feeling of being connected

A global survey commissioned by the BBC for the SuperPower Season suggests that the vast majority of us - 80% - believe the internet is now a fundamental right. But only around 16% of us actually have access to the web.

Komla, Moses, Nicholas

A mobile device is handed to Nicholas, a farmer with no access to computers

The BBC has installed two internet-capable mobile phones in a remote Nigerian village which has had no access to the web up to now. It's the village of Zangon Gitata, about 60 kms from the capital, Abuja.

It's a small village mainly of traders and the people here are poor but very hard working.

But the gap, both social and economic between Gitata and the capital, Abuja, is visible the moment you get here.

It's not connected to the national electricity grids so instead of the noisy TV sets and radios you would expect, you can hear the occasional motorbike coming by and domestic animals.

There's no running water so in morning the ritual here is to get in line.

Women and children wake up as early as three in the morning to fetch water from a communal source.

I was feeling very excited when the mobile phone was given to me

Nicholas in Gitata

The houses are mainly mud brick structures with corrugated roofing sheets so you can imagine the impact of bringing the internet with all its wonders and of course its pitfalls to a community like Gitata.

One of our internet pioneers, a farmer called Nicholas spoke to the BBC’s Komla Dumor about his online experiences so far.

Nicholas "I was feeling very excited when the mobile phone was given to me: I don't have access to any computer. (Now) I can browse information from the internet.

The problem was (with) the service provider at times, because (the signal) is not much. Every area in Gitata that you can get service you must go around (to) get (the best) service signal.”

Komla: “But how does it make you feel, because there are other parts of the world where to be connected to the internet is just like the snap of a finger, but in Gitata there's not even electricity?”

Nicholas

Nicholas believes everybody should have the right to information

Nicholas: “Yes I was very very sad because sometimes if my battery is low I have to take it down to this charger and they will charge me money. How can a poor man have access to information if such charges continue?

Komla: What you're saying is that poverty is a barrier to information access?

Nicholas: Yes …. I want the government to intervene in this situation so that everybody should have right to information at least at a subsidised rate.

Komla: So you think internet information should be a right for everyone in Nigeria?

Nicholas: Really, really, really.

Komla: The entire community has been following what has been going on and the people have taken a lot of interest in the progress and I have one gentleman who's been following what has been happening. His name is Umar, he's one of the local opinion leaders. Tell me, is the internet something that a community like Gitata desperately needs:

Umar: Of course yes, because Gitata is a small settlement and very close to the capital. I think we should benefit (from) something like (the) internet because having access to information (you) can at least voice your problem to the world and to the government.

Komla: What can the internet do for a community like Gitata where there's no electricity, no running water. Could the internet actually make things better?

Umar: Of course, yes. Supposing we have access to the internet, the government will know our problem and the world as well. Therefore I think the internet is very very important, very educational to our children.

related bbc world service links

related bbc links

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.