Category Archives: solarpower

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!


Syakalinda Primary School

Category : solarpower , zambia

Syakalinda Primary School is about 4KMs off the tarred road near Chaanga. The surrounding community relies on subsistence farming and charcoal burning. Pupils come from 9 different villages. The school caters from pre-school to Grade 7 with 7 teachers and 338 pupils.

Syakalinda school signSyakalinda Schoolschool surroundings Syakalindaschool flag Syakalinda

We installed solar panels in March 2018 thanks to a grant from Hub Cymru Africa

There were some slight issues with the solar setup but things were operating OK and teachers were making good use of the resources. They used the Raspberry Pi RACHEL server to prepare lessons for pupils, to address enquiries on agriculture from the local community and for their own personal development and research. The children manage to get hands on to the laptops occasionally too.

solar at SyakalindaSyakalinda staffSyakalinda classroompupils on laptop


Dibbwi Primary School

Category : solarpower , zambia

Dibbwi is a remote rural school in the Chaanga area which draws its pupils from 15 villages with an estimated population of 2350. The inhabitants are mainly subsistence farmers growing vegetables, maize, millet and sorghum. They also grow some cotton and sugar cane as a cash crop. Some keep cattle, sheep or pigs. When crops fail they turn to charcoal burning to raise cash.

charcoal burningvillagers

As you can see, the ground is dry and sandy. Our car got stuck and fortunately these ladies appeared from nowhere to help push!

Dibbwi Primary Schoolrear of school with panelsdibbwidibbwi

There are 260 pupils on roll, 101 girls and 160 boys. The head teacher estimates that there may be as many as 200 other children who do not attend school. There are 3 government teachers and 2 community volunteers.

We installed solar power in February 2019 thanks to a grant from Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa Grant Scheme.

WElsh Government Wales for Africa Scheme logo

We returned in June to monitor how all our solar schools are progressing. This was made possible by a grant from The Waterloo Foundation.

This school was making very good use of its solar power to charge  laptops  and the projector for about four hours each week day. The Head Teacher is using the resources to teach his teachers the basics in computers so that they can relay the information to their pupils. They have also made good use of Reading Aloud books. On this follow-up visit, we left an updated version of RACHEL containing African Story Books in Chitonga, the local language.

Dibbwi solardibbwi classroom

 


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


Nashongo Primary School

Category : solarpower , sponsors

Our  visit to Nashongo School was perhaps the most challenging so far. The ground is very dry and in parts it was like driving on soft sand. Our driver was not confident and kept getting stuck! Fortunately someone usually appeared out of the bush to help push.

The school catchment area covers 7 local villages with about 180 households. The local population survives by animal husbandry and growing staple crops like millet, maize and groundnuts. They also grow some cotton as a cash crop.

Nashongo Schoolwater pump Nashongonashongo groundsnashongo

There was one school building, a teacher’s house, a water pump and pit latrine toilets. There were 331 pupils (164 boys, 167 girls) taught by 4 trained teachers and 4 volunteers.

Nashongo had had some problems with the solar controller but they had made the system safe until our arrival, only using it for charging. We were able to swap out the solar controller for them and check out the set up.

checking solar at Nashongosolar Nashongo

Thanks to the solar power, staff use laptops every day but their skills are mainly confined to looking up information and word processing. One teacher knew how to use spreadsheets. The unqualified staff were very much beginners.

As regards the Raspberry Pi, they had used it to access African story books on RACHEL. We updated their Raspberry Pi with a version containing the African Story Books in the local language Chitonga. We also left a power bank which they could use if they wished to teach outside in the school grounds.

Thanks to the Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme which enabled this school to have at their disposal all the benefits of solar power – lighting, charging equipment and accessing wonderful learning resources.

WElsh Government Wales for Africa Scheme logo


Munyama School

Category : News , solarpower

Our second visit on 13th June was to Munyama School. We are carrying out an exercise to monitor our impact thanks to funding from The Waterloo Foundation. This is the Zone school for the area and takes pupils to Grade 9.

Like Manchamvwa Lakeshore it is difficult to access and best reached by boat. A grant from Hub Cymru Africa enabled us to supply solar panels to both schools in Spring 2018.

Munyamasolar setup at Munyama

Everything was tidy and in good condition. We were very impressed with the Grade 9 pupils working on laptops donated by us and borrowed from Teachers. They were busy creating charts from spreadsheets and inserting them into presentation software.

IT classIT pupil

munyama schoolportable science lab

Like other schools which teach older pupils, Munyama School has been given a very basic portable “science lab” to use in Grades 8 and 9.

We are pleased to report that since our last visit the school now has two large water storage tanks to store water pumped up from Lake Kariba.

If you would like to help us continue to support Munyama and other schools, please consider donating here

 


Manchamvwa Lakeshore

Category : solarpower , zambia

On 13th June we visited Manchamvwa Lakeshore School using the Office of the President’s boat.The District  Education Board Secretary, the Resource Centre Coordinator and Human Resources Officer joined us. We also invited along Deana and Belinda from Friends of Monze   to help us with our monitoring exercise which is funded by The Waterloo Foundation.

Wendy and DEBSall aboard for lakeshore schools

We provided solar power to the school in Spring 2018 thanks to funding from Hub Cymru Africa and were pleased to find everything in good working order.

solar controllersbatteries

There was an extensive garden on site where they grew water melons. The Head Teacher gave us a water melon  to take for our lunch. He said he had consulted RACHEL learning resource to see how to grow them! We were pleased to discover the different uses that this resource is put to.

gardenWatermelonschildren at manchamvwaschool groundsManchamvwa Lakeshore schoolfishing and cattle farming


Kabbila School

Category : News , solarpower

Today our monitoring visits took us to Kabbila and Namumu Schools. The Waterloo Foundation are funding this task.

Kabbila

Kabbila is a remote school which has been beautifully decorated by Hafod Primary School in Swansea.

decorated classroom at Kabbila decorated classsroom at kabbila

You can see pylons from the school grounds but no power for them.
panels on roof at kabbilaPylons in background

It was the first school in which we installed solar panels, courtesy of funds from University of Wales Trinity St Davids. They had looked after their equipment despite several changes of Head teacher.

solar set up at Kabbila Schoolsolar controller

There are many challenges for schools such as this but the community rallies around. The Head of the PTA was mending the milling machine while we were there!

milling machinegoats

 

 


Katalumba and Game School visits

Category : News , solarpower

Today we began our site visits to schools where we previously installed solar panels. This monitoring exercise is thanks to funding from The Waterloo Foundation.

Katalumba is on a hill overlooking Lake Kariba. The school has many challenges but as well as having large classes of pupils up to Grade 7, tries to cater for 8 children with a range of special needs. In the evening adults from the community come in for literacy lessons. Raspberry Pi with RACHEL can help with resources. We left them an updated version of Pi and a laptop to use to access the resources.

Head teacher KatalumbaLooking at RACHEL resourcesPupils in Katalumbaspecial needs classroom!

Game School also overlooks Lake Kariba. We installed solar panels in both these schools thanks to donation of the panels by Solar Plants in Baglan Bay and funding from Hub Cymru Africa. The panels are still functioning well and they are using the RACHEL resources. We left an updated version of the learning resources and also a laptop. Their classes are very large particularly in Grades 1-4, typically 65-70.

Looking at RACHEL resources via laptopswapping out Pichildren outside school

They have a football pitch and parents are cooperating to make a garden.

football pitchgarden


Monitoring our impact

Category : solarpower , zambia

This morning we invited representatives from all the schools where we had installed solar panels to come to Siavonga Resource Centre. We wanted them to help us assess the impact of our project. The Waterloo Foundation has given us a grant to carry out the task of monitoring our impact.

We have installed solar panels in 14 schools in Siavonga District in liaison with the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS). Funding for this work has come from University of Wales Trinity St Davids, S & C Electric Europe, Hub Cymru Africa, The Waterloo Foundation and Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme administered by WCVACymru.  SolarPlants in Baglan Bay also donated us solar panels.

We divided into two groups and first addressed the issue of the impacts made by having solar power. The groups presented their findings to all attendees.

solar schoolsteachers at workTeacher from BbakilaDaniel from Dibbwi presenting findings

The most important impact of being given solar power was being able to run laptops with which to address the teaching of ICT. Schools also mentioned increased security because of LED lighting and the use of the school after hours for adult learning or for pupils to do homework.

impact of solar panels

The next question was concerning their use of the RACHEL  learning resources.There were differences between the groups in the modules  they used most. All used the African Story Books as there is a government initiative called Read Aloud encouraging daily reading. One school was interested in the Economics module as it gave information on entrepreneurship and setting up a business. In the communities served by all these schools, there is no formal employment. People farm or garden or run small businesses like shops.

Teacher from munyama