Category Archives: News

Lifetime Achievement Award

Category : News

CONGRATULATIONS  to Howard Kirkman on winning a Lifetime Achievement Award at yesterday’s Hub Cymru Africa Summit.
HCA said”Howard is co-founder of (@Giakonda) Giakonda Solar Schools, which offers solar power installations to schools in #Zambia, enabling lighting and infrastructure for computers.”
Howard said: “I am honoured and humbled to be receiving this award. There are so many others like me taking small steps to improve the lives of people in Africa. The achievements of Giakonda Solar Schools would not have been possible without the help and enthusiasm of trustees and supporters in the UK and the dedication of our partner teachers in Zambia.”

Unexpected impacts

Category : News

Sometimes our efforts at improving the educational chances of Zambian children have even more impact than first expected. The following are quotes from MUnyama School.
“Munyama primary school has for many years been operating without power to run  electrical equipments/gadgets or enough to have lights in the classrooms for the pupils. Until MARCH 2018, when GIAKONDA helped the school by providing a solar system that eradicated many challenges the school used face when it used to operate completely without power. Currently the pupils are able to study in the night without any problems, the teachers are equally able do their work in the night due the availability of power and good cool weather.
In additional, the computer studies department received a heavy boost from GIAKONDA through the donation of Lifebook laptop computers which improved the computer to pupil ratio. This gesture eased the learning and teaching of computer studies especially the practical part. Teachers are equally able to type their work freely without congesting the computer which were not in the school at the time.
Further the RACHEL has also been a very good resource for both the teachers and the pupils as they are able to research additional material in line with their work.
Additionally, it has also improved the school community partnership and rapport. Many parents visit the school to acquit themselves with internet services.

The one other positive story is that, two male parents after taking interest in computer studies, did register for the grade nine examinations and progressed to grade ten. We take these as the GIAKONDA first fruits.

Lastly but not the least, the recent training on learning to learn program has played a fundamental role in the improvement of girl child enrolment and also making the lesson interesting to the pupils and the teachers themselves as they enjoyed learning while playing.

The training has equipped teachers with learner friendly methodologies

COSTAZ Conference

Category : News

Yesterday the Computer Science Teachers Association Zambia (COSTAZ) held a conference at ST Vincent de Paul School in Monze. One of the items on the agenda was the setting up of Code Clubs in Schools.

Over the last couple of years, Howard has been training a small group of teachers to run code clubs to teach programming and physical computing. Macloud from Kabuyu andIT technician Bridget, were invited to address the delegates about this. There was a great deal of interest and we hope that more code clubs will be rolled out soon. Thanks to Francis from St Vincent’s for arranging this.

Macloud setting up

Feedback from solar schools

Category : News

We have been gathering feedback from the solar schools that we assisted in Zambia over the last 8 years. We installed solar panels and supplied RACHEL learning esources via Raspberry Pi. Here are  a few quotes:
“Solar power is cardinal to most of the rural schools in Siavonga District. Most of the schools are not connected to the hydro electric power thereby lacking any means of running technological appliances.
Pupils have a chance to do hands on activities.
Only seven pupils failed computer out of thirty four pupils in the grade 9 2022 final examination.
Generally speaking,there is need for most schools in rural areas to have solar to move at the same pace with urban children.
Your donation came at the right time.”

“The provision of solar power at Sianyoolo Primary School has enabled the use of Raspberry Pi which has allowed anytime free education access by the poor rural school communities.”

“I write to inform you our sponsors that the solar power has helped the school in terms security lights, charging of computers and phones for teachers. The solar power has also improved the learning of information and communication technology (ICT) in the school as computers are always charged before lessons begin. The RACHEL has improved reading levels and abilities for the learners. This is due to reading resources contained in the RACHEL resource.”

“Having the solar panels, adult literacy learning programs has been introduced in the evenings.Pupils have also benefited since they can now do their evening study.
Teachers have directed benefited by lessening burden on lesson preparations. The lessons are now more effective by the use of RACHEL Pi and RASPBERRY PI.
The school has actually been earmarked for upgrade to junior/secondary, since it has now power.”

We have achieved these results with the help of grants from sponsors such as Hub Cymru Africa, Wales and Africa Grant Scheme, The Waterloo Foundation, The Didymus Foundation,  The Carmela and Ronnie Pignatelli Foundation, 

Talk for Henllys WI

Category : News

Thanks to Henllys WI for inviting me to talk at their meeting on Monday. It was good to see so many ladies interested and enthused to hear about our project in Zambia.

Thanks for the “appearance fee”. It will provide physical computing kit for a Siavonga code club.

Ethical Festive Market

Category : News

This weekend @hubcymruafrica are hosting their Ethical Festive Market! We are lucky enough to have our trustee Wendy speaking at the event so please come along to support her at 1pm in the Temple of Peace Cardiff.

panel discussion Boycott Shop Support

There are more activities throughout the day with the event running from 11am to 4pm.

#development #international #education #ethical #festive #market #youth #engagement #sdg #discussion

NAQEZ Southern Province conference

Category : News

Giakonda Solar Schools were delighted to be invited to address the conference of National Action for Quality Education Zambia (NAQEZ) in Choma, Southern Province.  They were interested to hear about how we have worked with Zambian schools to improve access to educational resources and computers.

addressing NAQEZ conferencetalking about Raspberry Pi

Teachers Daniel Mangwende and Francis Kanene demonstrated some of the ways they use Raspberry Pi in their schools : for accessing the learning resources of RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hub for Education and Learning); as a powerful PC using one tenth the power of a standard desktop; and as a great way of introducing pupils to the useful skills of coding.

Francis demonstratingthe team setting up

Following my short presntation we were invited to join the Southern Province Educational Officer, Dr Allan Kaoma, to discuss further how we can extend the range of schools we support throughout Southern Province.

Wendy with PEO

Zambian Education magazine

Category : News

We are proud to have an article included in the first edition of the Zambian Education Magazine, published by NAQEZ (National Action for Quality Education in Zambia). Howard talks about the issues of choosing appropriate IT equipment for use in a rural African setting.

Click the link to read



Impact of solar power

Category : News

Daniel Mangwende of Dibbwi School today sent a letter describing the impact that solar power has made on his school. We are glad to receive his endorsement and thank him for his kind words.

If anyone doubts how effective £5000 can be to rural Zambia, read below.

Letter of support

Environmental Competition

Category : News , zambia

Our friends at Siavonga High School are in the final ten of a World bank environmental competition called “Plant Trees, not Plastic”. The top 5 will each get $1000 so they need your vote on the survey below (They’re number 5).