Global Challenges I Satellite Answers – Driving Sustainable Growth By Educating Marginalised Girls

1 July 2020 / Virtual

Educated girls and women are likely to live healthier and happier lives, marrying later, having few children, being empowered and becoming drivers of the micro-economy. Too often however families live in rural areas beyond the reach of connectivity. Access to digital education services & content, especially in rural, unconnected areas can improve education outcomes in maths, literacy & life skills. The Digital Divide remains an important reason why education as a whole but especially for girls is lacking across large parts of the world. Satellite connectivity is supporting the education of girls and the iMlango project in Kenya that impacts 78,864 girls in 205 primary schools is one such example. This session will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with expanding educational opportunities through satellite connectivity to rural schools.


Ms. Aarti Holla-Maini, Secretary General ESOA – Moderator

Aarti Holla has been Secretary General of the ESOA since 2004. She is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technology, Global 5G Coalition Network and Essential Digital Infrastructure & Services Network.

Under Aarti’s leadership, ESOA & its member CEOs lead the effort to showcase the benefits of satellite communications for a more inclusive and secure society – vital to bridging the world’s digital divide, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 5G ecosystem.

Since joining the association, Aarti has lead the expansion of ESOA from a European association to one that represents the interests of 20 global and regional satellite operators. She reports directly to their Chief Executives.

Aarti has 22 years’ experience in the aerospace industry, starting at Daimler-Benz Aerospace/EADS (now Airbus) in Germany. In 2000, she moved to Brussels, representing Airbus interests in the European satellite navigation program: Galileo.

Aarti holds a Masters of Business Administration from HEC, France & Stern Business School, NYC, USA. She qualified as Solicitor of the Supreme Court in the UK in 1995, holding a 2:1 graded LLB Hons Law with German Law degree from King’s College, University of London & the University of Passau, Germany. Aarti is of British-Indian origin and holds British and Belgian nationalities. She lives in Brussels, has 3 children and speaks 5 languages.

Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, ITU BDT

Doreen Bogdan-Martin was elected Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau on the 1st of November 2018.  She took office on the 1st of January 2019. She is a strategic leader with 30 years’ high-level experience in international and inter-governmental relations and a long history of success in policy and strategy development, analysis and execution. She has advised governments around the world on policy and regulatory issues, and is a regular presenter at high-level international forums and summits.

​Prior to her election, Ms Bogdan-Martin oversaw the organization’s Membership, Corporate Communications, External Affairs and UN Liaison teams, and was instrumental in establishing the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, on which she continues to serve as Executive Director.​

She was one of the principal architects of the annual Global Symposium for Regulators, directed ITU’s first global youth summit #BYND, oversees ITU’s contribution to the EQUALS Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, and is leading ITU’s collaboration with UNICEF and others on the GIGA project to connect the world’s schools.

Prior to joining ITU, Ms Bogdan-Martin was a Telecommunications Policy Specialist in the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), US Department of Commerce.

She holds a Master’s degree in International Communications Policy from American University in Washington, DC, post-graduate certification in Strategies for Leadership from the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and is certified in Accountability and Ethics by the United Nations Leaders Programme.

She is an affiliate of the Harvard University Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, and a Generation Unlimited Champion. She serves on a number of advisory bodies, including the Geneva-Tsinghua Initiative, the SDG Lab Advisory Board, and the UN Technology Innovation Labs.  She is also an amateur radio operator.

​She is married with four children.

Ms. Mercy Wanjau, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya

Mrs. Mercy Wanjau is the Acting Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). She was appointed to the position on 22nd August 2019. Prior to her appointment, she was the Authority’s Director of Legal Services and Board Secretary.

A commercial lawyer by profession, Mrs. Wanjau is a regulatory and governance expert who has been involved in design and harmonization of ICT policy and regulation at the local, regional and international level for over 15 years. She is passionate and deeply interested in harnessing the transformative power of responsive public policy, regulatory reform and innovative technologies towards achieving digital transformation. She is a Certified Secretary and a Professional Mediator. She has previously consulted with KPMG South Africa and PWC Kenya. Prior to that, she had a stint in commercial legal practice. In 2005/2006, she proceeded on international secondment to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), on a UN/World Bank/infoDev programme.

Mrs. Wanjau is a Trustee of the SOS Children’s Villages and is a Council Member of the Institute of Certified Secretaries (ICS) Kenya. She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi (LLB Hons), University of Cape Town (LLM) and Strathmore Business School. In addition, she is an Eisenhower Fellow and a published author.


Ms. Debbie Mavis, Project Director iMlango, Avanti Communications

Debbie Mavis is the Project Director of iMlango. She joined Avanti Communication Group plc (Avanti) in July 2018 as Group HR Director and as a member of the Executive Committee. She oversees all aspects of HR, ICT, Property, Internal Communications and CSR globally.

Debbie has over 20 years’ experience working in telecommunications and banking. Before joining Avanti she held the role of Director of Talent and Resourcing at TSB Bank for six years, where she was instrumental in the divestment of the entity from Lloyds Banking Group, the build of TSB, flotation and the subsequent acquisition by Banco de Sabadell.

At Vodafone for 12 years, Debbie held a number of senior roles, initially in Vodafone UK including Head of Business Partnering, UK Head of Resourcing and Head of Employee Engagement. In 2006, she moved to a European regional role to lead Executive Resourcing, Talent Management across fourteen countries with global accountability for Talent and Resourcing in Group Marketing and Global Technology. She built strong succession capability in all the European Markets and coached and mentored Executives across the Group.

Mr. Ian Attfield, Senior Education Advisor, DFID

Ian Attfield is the Regional Education Adviser for Girls Education Challenge in South Asia.

Ian has worked with DFID as an advisor in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, developing and overseeing education programmes and evaluation. He has worked extensively on a wide range of diverse education instruments and engaged in
formulating education policy around inclusive education, teaching and learning and non-state provision.

Prior to joining DFID Ian was a freelance consultant working in Africa and Asia. His interests include EdTech, education
management, learning metrics, evaluation , sector analysis and systems, GIS school mapping and micro-planning. He has
blogged extensively on his work.

His current work includes support to the Leave No Girl Behind portfolio in Nepal and Pakistan, enabling government and
local partner buy-in and scaling of best practice from both GEC and wider education reforms and innovations.

Ian has a disability and understands first-hand the issues on inclusion and data related to disability.

more info, https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2020/, _blank