Category Archives: solarpower

Pupil feedback

Category : solarpower

Following installation of solar power and computer based off-line learning resources, this is what one Siavonga teacher reports.

Pupils have benefitted greatly from:
-Free access to technology.
– Access to information for their projects in school based assessment.
– Due to contact with real things (computers) motivation and improved attendance in during classes.
– Improved practical time for technology studies.


Lighting for Siamwiinga

Category : solarpower

After a day and a half of work by Muhunya Solar and some good work by school staff making things secure, Siamwiinga now has power and lighting! It will help school security at night and allow teachers and pupils to work in the evenings. Note the green light on the battery gauge showing they are well charged.

Next week the computers!

LIt up view of Siamwiinga school at nightoutside view of school lit up batteries


Solar at Siamwiinga

Category : solarpower

Muhunya Solar are making a great job of installing Solar power at Siamwiinga Primary School today.

setting up inverterfirst panel ready for putting upmen at work on roofpanels going upadjusting controlsview of school with panels

Someone is  connecting up the solar panels to the inverter. You can also see the fuse box and a battery “fuel gauge” which indicates the charge state of the batteries.

A guided tour of the wiring of lighting and plug sockets.


Siamwiinga gets ready for new Computer Hub

Category : solarpower

Siamwiinga Primary School are having solar panels fitted today by Muhunya Solar of Lusaka, thanks to a grant of £3000 from the Didymus Charity.

Giakonda Solar Schools’ many supporters have contributed towards providing a computer hub of 5 PCs, two laptops and a large screen TV. The school very sensibly spent yesterday making preparations including making a security grill for the new computer room.

security grill


Achievements to date

Category : News , solarpower , zambia

We’ve come a long way since our first visit to Zambia in 2015.

Here is a flavour of what we’ve achieved to date.

We have installed solar power in 14 schools in Siavonga District and 3 schools in Monze District. This enables them for the first time to have lighting and the infrastructure for computers.

We have supplied the learning resources of RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) to 5 schools with mains power via a Synology NAS server.

But our main focus has been the Raspberry Pi. It acts as a wifi hotspot and does not need mains power. We have used this as a server supplying RACHEL. 80 schools are now regularly using this resource for teaching and learning.

A fundamental part of our project is the training of teachers. On each visit we run courses on solar power, the use of RACHEL off-line learning resources, networking and general computer maintenance, and office applications. To date, in the three districts we visit, a total of 157 teachers from 61 schools have attended one or more of these sessions.

In addition to this, thanks to large donations of equipment we have sent out 128 PCs, 79 monitors, and 160 laptops. These were distributed by the local District Education Board Secretaries.

We have also been able to provide training in beekeeping delivered by a trainer from Monze, along with two beehives per school for those who attended. Some of them have been able to start selling jars of honey.


Developing solar power at Bbakasa School

Category : solarpower , sponsors , zambia

Wales and Africa Logo

 

 

 

Thanks to Welsh Government’s  Wales and Africa Grant Scheme, we are developing the solar power capability of Bbakasa School in Siavonga District. We first visited this remote school on the Lower Zambezi River, in 2015. We put up a very basic solar panel and battery for them and they have used it well to run two Raspberry Pi PCs and to charge teacher laptops. We also provided a Raspberry Pi server which acts as a wifi hotspot to deliver learning resources RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning).
The school has now become a Junior Secondary School and has more extensive needs. We have therefore supplied four large panels and four batteries to power a hub of Raspberry Pi computers, teacher laptops and a large screen to use for class teaching.placing roof panelssolar equipment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our suppliers Muhunya Solar of Lusaka make a very professional job of the installation.


Meeting with Health Help International

Category : solarpower , zambia

Yesterday we met up with trustees of Health Help International to discuss how we will help them with their project in Nanga Special School, Zambia.

Nanga Special school sign

They intend to turn a large hall into an area which the boarders can use for cross curricular IT lessons, evening study and extra curricular activities. We will install solar power for them to enable this to be self sustainable. As well as LED lighting, they will have a small suite of Raspberry Pi computers and a Raspberry Pi server. This will enable staff and pupils to access a vast number of videos, articles and lessons off-line.

Howard demonstrated the hardware and software. He explained how we would train staff and members of the local community to install and maintain the solar panels and batteries. We will also offer training to all schools in the area on using the off-line learning resources.


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