Author Archives: wendyk

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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
or
If you shop online regularly, you can earn donations for us at no cost to yourself.
Check out http://www.giakonda.org.uk/easyfundraising-giakonda-solar-schools/


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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 info@giakonda.org.uk and we can supply more technical details.

 


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Zambia

Category : News , 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 for Africa and suggested to them the benefits of code clubs in the computer hubs they were involved in setting up.

17th February

Chilanga Primary School Zambia

Broke our journey south with a visit to Chilanga First Primary School to see their computer hub installed by British Council in partnership with Airtel. We soon identified that the Pcs would benefit from networking. In a huge school like this, more than 1300 pupils, it would always be a challenge to give computer access to all pupils . Once again we suggested code clubs as a great way to introduce pupils to programming. The head teacher was interested in our visit and is allowing several of his teachers to travel to Siavonga in a few days to learn more.


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Solar Panels and Raspberry Pi

Category : News , solarpower , sponsors , zambia

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.
Director of SolarPlants handing over panelsHT fixing solar panel at Kabila School

Our target over the three week visit is to install power in four schools and provide Raspberry Pi computers loaded with RACHEL. This is an offline e-library containing thousands of articles on agriculture, science, literature and health. Find out more about this brilliant resource here.

In addition we will run training sessions for teachers to increase their confidence in using and maintaining the equipment.


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Siavonga visit

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 Raspberry Pi computer.

Raspberry Pi 3