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Advancing children’s education by providing solar power and computer infrastructure.

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News

RACHEL

Since 2015 Giakonda Solar Schools have been providing RACHEL  (freely available here) via Raspberry Pi computers to rural schools in Siavonga District, Southern Province, Zambia. Schools in Zambia have many challenges including large class sizes, very few resources and expensive, erratic or non-existent mains electricity. We identified twenty six schools of the thirty five government

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Training Zambian teachers

On each visit we ensure that we make time for training Zambian teachers who are always eager to extend their knowledge and skills. So it turned out to be not the best timed visit to Siavonga. Although term had officially begun children seemed to be slowly trickling back over the first few weeks and teachers

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Solar Power for Kawila

The main purpose of this visit to Zambia was to install solar power via solar panels at Kawila Primary School, giving them power for the first time. This is a remote school which serves 15 surrounding villages. We were greeted by staff, pupils and members from the local villages. Philemon also came over from Dambilo

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Sponsors wanted!

We have a large number of PCs and laptops ready to be donated to schools in Zambia and those in need in Swansea. Now it’s a matter of sponsors wanted to help us refurbish them with new hard drives. £50 will provide a PC or laptop hard drive. We will advertise your donation on social

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Zambia All systems go!

With just three weeks before we leave for Zambia, we’re busy getting kit set up. We are pre-installing RACHEL on five Raspberry Pi Computers and two or three Synology DiskStations. This will provide world-class offline learning resources to approximately 3000 pupils and teachers in rural schools. We are also checking over some laptops and access

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Hard drives

We are extremely grateful for a very generous donation of surplus PCs and laptops (minus their hard drives unfortunately). We intend to refurbish them and pass them on to schools in Zambia and also to disadvantaged families in Swansea. We will  put in new hard drives and instal a new operating system and LibreOffice software.

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Preparations for September trip

Progress I’ve finally booked the flights today so that’s good progress with preparations for our September trip to Siavonga, Zambia! It’s exciting to have Sian, Luke and Malcolm coming along with us to share their skills and expertise. We’re very grateful to them for volunteering their time and funding their own travel as we do.

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Africa Day 2107

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On Thursday May 25th Giakonda Solar Schools attended Africa Day 2017 at the Senedd Cardiff. We were invited by Hub Cymru Africa to showcase our project and meet our Assembly Members and other Welsh-based charities working in Africa. It was an interesting and enjoyable day, thanks in part to the entertainment provided by Zim Voices

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Katalumba re-visited

In 2010 a group of 29 Scouts from Surry and Berkshire travelled to Katalumba School in Siavonga to complete the building of three classrooms in conjunction with some Zambian Scouts. It was the culmination of two years hard work, fundraising and training organised by Jools Sore from Andover. The new centre made a huge difference

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Router en route to Zambia

Thanks to a customer donation, a D-Link router is en route to a school in Mutende, Northern Zambia where it will be used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi to deliver off-line learning resources. The resources comprise RACHEL and Khan Academy. RACHEL stands for Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning and the software

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Every little helps!

We certainly believe that when it comes to giving Every Little Helps. Since January, clients and visitors coming into our Swansea Offices have been donating odd coins ( and in some cases the odd note) to Giakonda Solar Schools. Thanks to this, I have been able to bank another £45 which equals another Raspberry Pi

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Donations please!

This is a plea for your donations please! Over the last three years we have worked with 16 different schools in Siavonga in Southern Province of Zambia, providing equipment and training. Some of the schools have no grid power so the obvious solution was for us to install solar panels. We have received grants from

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Raspberry Pi Zero W

We’ve just bought a few Raspberry Pi Zero W to see if they would be an even more cost effective solution for the schools in Siavonga Zambia. It now boasts wireless LAN and Bluetooth on board. Here’s the full feature list : 1GHz, single-core CPU 512MB RAM Mini-HDMI port Micro-USB On-The-Go port Micro-USB power HAT-compatible

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Many Hands Make “Light” Work

When Giakonda Solar Schools made a recent visit to Zambia, it was really a case of many hands making light work as teachers, pupils and community members joined in to install solar panels in four rural schools. We have been working in Siavonga, Southern Zambia for the last three years. Together with the local District

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RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning)

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One of the things we do each time we visit Siavonga, Zambia, is to take with us a fabulous e-learning resource called RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning). It can be downloaded for free here. RACHEL consists of a huge amount of articles, videos, lesson plans etc designed particularly with rural communities

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IT Training Sessions

While in Zambia recently, we held several well attended IT training sessions at Siavonga High School. Teachers came from sixteen different schools, some quite far away. Topics covered were: Computer science; Networking ( both the theory of it and practical work on setting up routers); theory and calculations involved in a solar panel installation, followed

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Solar Power for Zambian Schools

We’re now from Siavonga after three very busy weeks during which we installed solar panels in four rural schools, thanks to a grant from Hub Cymru Africa and the donation of 8 solar panels from SolarPlants, Baglan Bay. We began by running a training session on how to work out the requrements of a solar

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Zambia

Landed safely in Zambia 16th Feb Within two hours of touchdown we were in an unscheduled meeting with the British Council Project Officer for Digital matters in Zambia. We discussed how we might support his overall remit and fill in any gaps not addressed by other organisations at present. Through him we then visited Computers

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Solar Panels and Raspberry Pi

We’re busy checking out kit for next week’s visit to Siavonga, Zambia. A pallet of eight solar panels donated by SolarPlants has gone out ahead of us. Two of the panels are reportedly damaged during transit, but we are hoping they may still have some functionality. Our target over the three week visit is to

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Siavonga visit

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We’re delighted to be heading out for Siavonga next week to install the solar panels kindly donated by SolarPlants We will be working with four rural schools to get them set up and working, supplying teachers and pupils alike with offline learning resources via RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) on a

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Easyfundraising for Giakonda Solar Schools

If you do a lot of online shopping, here’s a way you can help us at the same time at no cost to yourself. Sign up with easyfundraising.org.uk and nominate Giakonda Solar Schools as your chosen cause. Whether it’s your weekly shop, travel abroad or insurance renewals, shop via easyfundraising.org.uk and the retailer will donate

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Swanfrica Network meeting

I attended a most useful workshop today at the Environment Centre, Swansea. Thanks to Swanfrica and Women4Resources for organising it. Representatives of various Wales-based charities working in Africa met together to share ideas and experiences and see how we could work together more closely. We identified common themes of education and training, and trading relationships.

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Donated computers arrive in Lusaka

Good news that the boxes of donated computers and laptops (despatched months ago via itschoolsafrica) have arrived in Lusaka and will be picked up shortly by Charli Mangalazi of Siavonga High School. Equipment that people in UK might just throw away, can be refurbished by us to perform well in Zambia. If you have anything

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Synology DiskStations for Siavonga

We have long been fans of Synology DiskStation NAS storage stations and, in July 2015, set one up in the offices of Siavonga Nutrition Group.  It meant that all users could save their work centrally and share resources more easily. We recently met Synology UK at a trade event and discussed our project with them. Imagine

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From pupil to master

In 2015 Philemon Chikoonda was head teacher of Kabbila Primary School in Siavonga. He watched carefully and assisted in setting up the solar panels for his school. Thanks to a grant from S & C Electric we were able to provide a solar panel, battery and cables for his new school Dambilo. Philemon set them

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Hub Cymru Africa Summit 2016

Yesterday we attended the Hub Cymru Africa Development Summit at Liberty Stadium Swansea. The event brought together representatives of many charities and voluntary organisations in Wales whose projects were linked with Africa. There were talks by people like the inspirational Nassra Juma Mohammed, Head Coach of the Zanzibar Women’s Football Team; and opportunities for networking

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En route for Siavonga

Thanks so much to SolarPlants of Baglan Bay for their generous donation of eight solar panels for our project in Zambia. They’ve now been picked up and have started the long journey to Lusaka via Durban. It will be mid- December before they arrive! Solar Plants Director Daniel Crossland with Howard Kirkman of Giakonda Solar

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Solar Panel Pick -Up

Tomorrow we are going to Baglan Bay to oversee the pick -up of 8 solar panels destined for Zambia. Solar Plants of Baglan Bay have kindly donated them for use in schools in Siavonga which at present have no power. They will be shipped via Durban to reach Lusaka in early December. We hope to

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