Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (Mashav) has been working for decades to help the remote African tribe and has now successfully built an infrastructure that allows the children’s community to connect to their global peers.

Photo Credit: Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry

Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (Mashav) had a surprise in store for the remote African tribe known as the Baka Pygmies. The Cameroon tribe is regarded as one of the most isolated and ancient tribes in the world. But thanks to an initiative by Israel’s Mashav agency, whose aim is to share technology with the developing world, the tribe can now enjoy Internet access.

While implementing the infrastructure required to connect to the online world, 20 tablets were handed out to the young members of the village, and the village school has since become the most coveted educational institution in the region.

The Baka community is regarded as one of the most underdeveloped communities even by African standards. The newly installed Internet connection not only connects the tribe’s children to their peers around the globe but also provides tools for addressing issues such as ethnic and religious discrimination and religious extremism.

Internet access can also help with other concerns such as poverty and sickness, poor infrastructure and social deprivation.

Mashav was chosen to participate in this project to represent Israel as a global leader of technology and was received warmly by UN organizations in Cameroon for its humanitarian efforts.

The ancient Pygmy community of Baka was documented as early as 500 AD by the Greek historian Herodotus, who described them as “tiny warriors” and “dancing dwarfs.” When European settlers arrived on African soil in the late 1800s, they gave an account of short people, averaging 1.52 m. who roamed the land and lived in forests. In 1906, the first Pygmy was brought to New York to be part of a human circus in the Bronx Zoo.

Photo Credit: Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry

Today, the tribe is appreciated for its connectiveness to the land and deep relationship with the natural surroundings, including food sources, that are regarded as holy.

Mashav Vice President Gil Haskel, who led the project, said that Mashav has been working for six decades on behalf of Israel “to empower individuals, communities and countries in the developing world” and added that “the Israeli spirit, which is based on the history of the Jewish people, has always had a deep understanding of impoverished communities around the world.”