Category Archives: News

School resources bound for Zambia

Category : News , sponsors

Thanks to the generosity of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, we have this week despatched another fifty laptops to Zambia.

We have also supplied a new solar controller for one of our schools and the Raspberry Pi Weather Station for use by the Geography Department at Siavonga High School.

Finally, we have been purchasing equipment with funding from the Carmela and Ronnie Pignatelli Foundation. This consists of the latest Raspberry Pi 4 computers in metal cases, with RACHEL learning resouces loaded on 128GB microsd cards.

With their generous grant we will give these excellent learning resources to 17 schools. We will hold a training day in Siavonga Teachers Resource Centre where the teachers can learn how to make the most of RACHEL in their lesson preparation and teaching.

Schools that have benefitted from this already have described it as ” lifechanging”; “makes my job so much easier”; “helps address the Zambian curricuklum”.

PIgnatelli Foundation logo


Giving Tuesday

Category : News

We’re a few week’s away from #GivingTuesday. We hope to use 3rd December as an opportunity to raise our profile and raise some extra cash to support schools in rural Zambia.

Since January 2015, we have been supplying solar power and learning resources to the Siavonga District of Zambia. Most of the funding to set up each new school comes from grants. For about £3000, we can install solar panels to power LED lighting, laptops, a projector or TV for class lessons and the Raspberry Pi with all the off-line learning resources of RACHEL. This consists of a huge library of articles, videos and lesson plans about all subjects of the curriculum, plus advice on health, farming etc tailored for rural communities. It creates its own wifi hotspot. Users can connect via smartphone, tablet or laptop.

We think the Pi server is so useful that we should donate it to every school, clinic, library or community organisation in the District. That’s where you can help.

The new improved Raspberry Pi 4 costs from £35 to £54 depending on memory size. A power supply for it is £8.
The microsd card on which we preload all the learning resources costs £24.
A case that can be screwed securely to the wall costs £15.
Total= about £100 but the value to the recipient is priceless.

Donate here

 


Milz at the Hyst

Category : News

Milz the Teacher, trustee of Giakonda Solar Schools Zambia, headlined at The Hyst in Swansea during the recent visit of Siavonga teachers.

Milz at The Hyst

It was a great evening of Reggae music.


Siavonga Teachers Visit

Category : News

A bit of a gap in news doesn’t mean we’ve been idle. Following our visit in June, we had reports to write and applications for funding for the next venture. This week we are pleased to see a group of teachers from Siavonga visiting Swansea under the British Council Connecting Classrooms Scheme.

Zambian teachers at British Council

Howard has been refurbishing and installing software on laptops for them to take back. We’re also sending a Raspberry Pi Weather station which will be used by the Geography Department at Siavonga High School to add to a worldwide schools data base.


June Visit

Category : News

Can’t believe we’ve been home for four weeks already! It was a very successful visit on all fronts and we’ve been busy organising information and writing reports ever since.

Feedback from schools in Zambia has been consistently positive, however after 4 years of work there, it was  time to review our activities and gain a fuller understanding of the impact of them. We set out to do this monitoring exercise with the support of The Waterloo Foundation.

We visited all 14 solar schools which have received solar panels thanks to one of the following donors:
University of Wales Trinity St Davids
S&C Electric
Hub Cymru Africa
Solar Plants
The Waterloo Foundation
Wales For Africa

Read our report here.

Also on this trip, we installed solar panels at Malimba School on behalf of Friends of Monze and held training sessions in Monze and Chilanga Districts.


Manchamvwa Inland School

Category : News , solarpower

Manchamvwa InlandManchamvwa Inland

This school is very remote and, as such, the teachers have particular challenges. There are 4 teachers who use smartphones as well as 5 school laptops. There are 216 pupils.
We installed solar power for them in February 2019 thanks to a grant from Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grants Scheme.

panels at manchamvwa Inlandsolar control at Manchamvwa ilandManchamvwa Inland batteriesManchamvwa Inland battery fuel gauge

It is functioning well and enabling them to charge the laptops, phones and a projector. They can keep LED lighting on at night for security.  After school hours, older pupils who live in the community but attend other schools come in to Manchamvwa Inland to study and complete homework thanks to the light and RACHEL learning resources.

The local residents are enjoying African Cup of Nations on TV and the local barber even comes in to cut hair, running his clippers from the solar power!


Kawila School

Category : News , solarpower

Kawila School was comparatively easy to reach i.e. we didn’t get stuck! The school was given solar power in September 2017 thanks to a grant from The Waterloo Foundation.

Kawila school signkawila school

Kawila school has 5 teachers including the Head Teacher, two of whom are studying for a degree in Computers. There is one unqualified teacher. 325 pupils come to school in three sessions. When not in lessons they enjoy the seesaw and a game that looked to me just like Duck Duck Goose (although they called it MerryGoRound.)

seesawMerry Go Round

The solar panels enable the school to charge laptops and phones. They use the lights occasionally when there are events in the evening.

Kawila classroomsolar at Kawila

They make use of the projector as a teaching aid and reported that it was bright enough for use in the classroom.

The most used units on RACHEL were African StoryBooks and Wikipedia to prepare and deliver lessons.

approach to kawilakawila


Sianyoolo School

Category : News

Sianyoolo is the local zone school. It runs from Grades 1 to 9 with a total of 600 pupils. The school received solar power in Feb 2017 thanks to a donation of panels by Solar Plants of Baglan Bay and other equipment  funded by Hub Cymru Africa.

Sianyoolo Schoolsianyoolo schoolsianyoolo school signsianyoolo solar kit

We saw Grade 9 pupils working on laptops preparing for practical ICT exams. This possible because they can charge them from the solar power.

working on laptopspupils with laptops

 


Visit to Chaanga area

Category : News , zambia

Several of the schools where we have installed solar panels over the last few years are situated in the Chaanga area of Siavonga. As this quite a distance from the town, we decided to stay in a lodging house in Chaanga itself. The surrounding scenery was stunning.

ChaangaChaangaChaangatoilet

It was an eye-opening experience. The room was clean and bed very comfortable but that was pretty much it in the way of amenities. The lady of the house made fritters from flour, salt, sugar and water to sell in the local market at an equivalent of 5p each.

cooking frittersfritters

Her children amused themselves by making bubbles by putting a hollow lollypop stick in the embers of a fire and blowing. Other children were working carrying water on their heads.

bubbleschildren carrying water

There was a local hospital with a maternity unit.

hospitalmaternity unit


Namumu School

Category : News

outside Namumu School

On 12th June we visited Namumu School. Children at Namumu School, like most of the rural schools in Siavonga District, receives food from the Zambian Government in the form of maize. The schools pay someone in the local community to boil it and that provides lunch each day. There is a shelter behind the school where children can eat. There is still a high degree of malnutrition and stunted growth in the area.

feeding areamaize

On 12th June we visited Namumu School. This school has now been connected to grid power. The solar equipment was in place but had been sidelined and the cables disconnected. Due to the fact that the cost of electricity is a drain on school resources, we intend to install a grid tie inverter and reinstate the solar set-up to feed into their grid.

 

solar controllersHT Namumu

head teachers room with PCsladies filling in questionnaire

We were pleased to see that the Raspberry Pi was turned on and was being used to access African Story Books and Wikipedia for Schools in particular. They had two PCs from the consignments of donated machines we sent out but were using  a laptop and teachers’ smartphones  to access the learning resources. Pupils occasionally used RACHEL independently. With a router, Namumu School will be able to network the PCs and use them to access RACHEL too.

Staff filled in our questionnaire for the impact assessment we are compiling thanks to a grant from The Waterloo Foundation