Under the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP), Inmarsat led three projects that used satellite connectivity to benefit communities in developing and emerging economies.
In Nigeria, Indonesia and the Philippines during 2017-19, we worked with governments and regional organisations to tackle challenges in healthcare, sustainable fishing, and disaster response.
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The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with governments and organisations in emerging and developing economies around the world to deliver a sustainable economic or societal benefit.
All IPP projects are fully aligned to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2017 Inmarsat was awarded UK Space Agency IPP funding to lead three projects using satellite technology to improve and protect people’s lives in Nigeria, Indonesia and the Philippines. Sustainability was a key element of each of the two-year projects, with detailed monitoring and evaluation designed to demonstrate to respective governments their positive impact on target communities and cost effectiveness.
The IPP projects followed the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP) initiatives that Inmarsat undertook in 2015, supplying connectivity for mobile banking services in Kenya and a maternal healthcare programme in Nigeria.
Both programmes supported Inmarsat’s commitment to understanding the requirements of our international partner countries to ensure that important benefits can be seen on the ground, making the best use of our technology to deliver maximum social impact.
Project: Raising the standard of Nigerian healthcare outcomes in areas with poor communications through the application of satellite connectivity.
Inmarsat worked with InStrat, Africa’s leading mobile health solutions provider, and the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development and federal and state health ministries to improve healthcare in Nigeria.
Poor infrastructure and isolated rural communities mean many people have little or no access to regular medical care and advice. Eighty four health clinics in Kano and Ondo states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which have no 3G coverage were supplied with BGAN broadband data terminals to:
The project succeeded in improving maternal and child healthcare provision, with health worker skill levels improved and patients more satisfied with the service they received. Demand for and use of medical data by ministries of health to inform policy grew, and disease reporting rates in the project areas rose from 20% to 65%, with the speed and accuracy of data analysis significantly increased.
Examples of remote video training in action included the resuscitation of a newborn baby and saving the life of a woman in childbirth. The resources also contributed to education programmes, such as the benefits of breastfeeding.
The project was designed to create a model that can be extended into other parts of Nigeria, strengthening the country’s healthcare system – a move that is backed by all the state ministries involved.
» IPP Nigeria: satellite connectivity saving lives
Project: Designing and implementing innovative solutions for smart satellite technology to promote inclusive and sustainable fishing practices in Indonesia.
Inmarsat and a consortium of partners, including Satellite Applications Catapult, Hatfield Consultants, Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management and local service provider SISFO, worked with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) to help reduce illegal fishing and improve safety and livelihood security for the seven-million strong fishing community.
Environmentally unsustainable fishing – including illegal and unreported catches – is having huge ecological and financial consequences in the country, impacting on the entire value chain and costing the government around $3 billion a year. The project aimed to incentivise fishermen to adopt satellite-based Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) by building in data services to enhance their safety, productivity and food security, using Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro machine-to- machine (M2M) technology. It was also designed to help inform the MMAF on the shape of future fishery regulation.
The VMS+ satellite system, installed on 200 small vessels, had a clear impact on safety. The crew on four boats in distress at sea were rescued after using the SMS text function. Fishers were able to improve their business operations by locating the best fishing grounds, filling up with their catch quicker and reducing the length of trips. Profits rose by 12% and crew retention rates were much better.
Results also supported the case for requiring vessels less than 30 GT to have VMS onboard to help combat IUU – as well as to potentially improve access to international markets, although this will require new regulation and assistance for small-scale fishers to acquire equipment.
» IPP Indonesia: A lifeline for fishing
Project: Reducing the impact of natural disasters by using satellite communications in the Philippines.
The Philippines suffers over 20 cyclones annually, as well as frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
While the nation is experienced at responding to sudden natural disasters, resource constraints, infrastructure fragility and geography means that the human and economic cost remains high.
Inmarsat and a consortium of partners including Satellite Applications Catapult and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) worked with the Philippine government to transform disaster response.
Prepositioning powerful but easily deployable equipment – Global Xpress (GX) and BGAN broadband data terminals and IsatPhone 2 satellite phones – in five pilot regions meant reliable, secure communications were ready in place in the event of a disaster, to help relief agencies and first responders send and receive information much more effectively, and enable the government to restore communications and increase command and control of recovery operations within 24 hours. Regional staff were trained how to use all the satellite equipment.
During the two-year project period, the satellite equipment was deployed in eight typhoons, and in the evacuation of tens of thousands of people during the eruption of Mt Mayon in January 2018. Results showed faster and better co-ordinated responses in the immediate aftermath, as well as improved conditions in the longer term in Mt Mayon evacuation centres with access to a BGAN terminal.
» IPP Philippines: fast response saves lives
An expert strategy advisory board coordinated Inmarsat’s IPP projects: