Author Archives: wendyk

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Africa Day 2107

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.

Howard at Africa Day

Connor talking to UKIP Assembly Member

It was an interesting and enjoyable day, thanks in part to the entertainment provided by Zim Voices Choir.

During the proceedings we held a minute’s silence to remember the people killed by the recent terrorist bombing in Manchester.

minutes silence for Manchester

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Katalumba re-visited

Category : News , zambia

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 to the lives of the local children, who previously had to walk up to 10 km through the bush.

Scouts from East England
Read about their experiences here and here

One of their number, Sarah, got in touch after seeing this website asking about how things are progressing. The art work on the wall still brightens up the classroom.

Sarah paints hand print leaf

The swings are still there although the school is being extended.

enjoying the swingsswings in background

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Router en route to Zambia

Category : News

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.
Raspberry Pi 3
The resources comprise RACHEL and Khan Academy. RACHEL stands for Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning and the software is freely available from

Someone’s discarded IT equipment has been put to a great new use and will enable a large number of pupils to access world-class learning materials.


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Every little helps!

Category : News , zambia

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 and cool lego case for a rural school in Zambia.

Raspberry Pi 3

You can donate to us online too if you like what we do.


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Donations please!

Category : News

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 Hub Cymru Africa, University of Wales Trinity St David’s and S&C Electric Europe which we have used to buy solar equipment and Raspberry Pi computers.
In addition we have supplied PCs, laptops, routers and switches, some of which were donated by businesses and private individuals. A little money goes a long way in Zambia and laptops and tablets we might cast aside can be put to good use in the Siavonga schools.
Synology have donated two ex-demo DiskStation NAS servers which we set up to deliver world-class off-line learning resources in two large schools.
SolarPlants donated eight solar panels, enough to equip four rural schools with power for running Raspberry Pi computers, charging phones and LED lighting.
We organise fundraising events which are great fun and involve a lot of drumming, wild dancing and African food!
But we are always looking for your donations too.donations of laptops

You can help by :
donating your unwanted IT equipment

Visiting our donations page  here
If you shop online regularly, you can earn donations for us at no cost to yourself.
Check out

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Raspberry Pi Zero W

Category : News , zambia

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.
Raspberry Pi zero

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 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers
  • CSI camera connector
  • 802.11n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0


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Many Hands Make “Light” Work

Category : News , solarpower , zambia

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 Education Board Secretary we have identified twenty six schools in the district which have no mains power.
setting up solar panelscrimping cables
In February this year, thanks to a grant from Hub Cymru Africa and the donation of eight solar panels from SolarPlants, we spent a busy three weeks providing power, lighting and world class educational resources to four primary schools. Howard also delivered computer and technical training to teachers and the community. We worked with three British Council hub schools to improve their network infrastructure.
After giving them half a day’s training, Howard was able to supervise staff and “helpers” to connect up the solar panels in a matter of a few hours. Two 235W panels and a 200Ah battery provide enough power to run LED lights, a router and a Raspberry Pi server which together provided a huge educational resource.

setting up controller on wallRaspberry Pi 3
The Raspberry Pi is a small computer designed in Cambridge, made in Bridgend which needs only as much power as a mobile phone. It delivers an offline learning resource called RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning). It is a vast library of articles and videos on everything from literature to agriculture, history to health technology and science. This can be accessed from a laptop and any other wireless enabled device in the locality.
For a remote rural school, this solar set-up represents a big step forward by offering site security, lengthening the working day and providing world class learning materials.
The head teacher of Sianyoolo School commented, “With lights and educational materials like this we feel like a proper school!”

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RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning)

Tags :

Category : News , zambia

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 in mind. You can find information on everything from keeping goats to world geography to learning algebra.

The beauty of it is that people can access it offline so avoiding the insecurities and expenses connected with the internet. We supply it to schools which have no mains power via a Raspberry Pi which can be accessed by any wireless devices in the area.

In school with power, we share it across a network from a Synology DiskStation.

Pupils tell us they can do research and find information that’s not in their textbook. Teachers find it a great help in lesson planning and CPD. Members of the wider community can find information about healthcare and many other topics.

Pupils using RACHELteacher using RACHEL

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IT Training Sessions

Category : News

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 by practical experience of doing this
  • Coding with Scratch on the Raspberry Pi computer and PC. Setting up a Code Club
  • Maintaining network and internet security by using antivirus and anti malware software, safe browsing

IT trainingIT training

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Solar Power for Zambian Schools

Category : solarpower , zambia

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 power system and then it was a case of “everyone hands on”.

setting up solar panelscrimping cables

setting up batterysetting up controller on wall

If you need any advice please contact us and we can supply more technical details.