Category : sponsors
Category : sponsors
We are pleased to confirm that we have received a grant of £5184 from the Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa Grant Scheme to help make some Zambian schools safer for their staff and pupils.
With it we’ll buy handwashing stations, masks, soap and cleaning materials to make a safer environment.
We’ll also buy mobile routers so that schools can access remote resources and training.
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.
Our suppliers Muhunya Solar of Lusaka make a very professional job of the installation.
Thanks to Daniel Mangwende of Dibbwi Primary School for carrying out RACHEL training for us at Siavonga Teachers’ Resource Centre on Monday 9th December. He showed a group of seventeen teachers how to access the RACHEL learning resources on a Raspberry Pi server using laptops or smartphones. He explained how his teachers make use of it for lesson preparation and teaching, and how to shut down the system safely.
Most of the schools present have no mains electricity so they were supplied with powerbanks to power their Raspberry Pis.
The Raspberry Pi server provides a huge off-line library of videos, articles and lesson plans tailored for rural communities. It can be a real game changer in schools which have few teaching resources.
Thanks to a grant of £2500 from the Carmela and Ronnie Pignatelli Foundation, Giakonda Solar Schools was able to provide the necessary equipment and organise a day’s training. Mr Mangwende is already planning follow-up sessions so the teachers can share experiences and success.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
We’re extremely busy preparing for our trip to Zambia at the end of the month. This visit will include delivering training and installing solar panels at a school in Monze newly built by Friends of Monze.
Then it’s down to Siavonga to visit the 14 schools where we have previously installed solar panels over the last four years. These installations have been made possible by grants 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 WCVA
We were also donated solar panels by Solar Plants, Baglan Bay.
We want to check that all the equipment there is functioning well and being properly maintained. We have supplied Raspberry Pi computers running RACHEL learning resources and we want to see which modules are most useful. We intend to assess the impact our project has made in the district so far. We are able to undertake this monitoring activity thanks to funding from The Waterloo Foundation.
At the end of the trip, we will spend a few days training teachers in Chilanga District.
Last Wednesday a good friend took 44 PCs and 60 monitors to Folkestone for shipping to the Department of Education in Siavonga. These were donated by a company which wishes to remain anonymous. We are grateful to Operation Sunshine for facilitating this delivery.
Meanwhile we were busy showing teachers here how to refurbish the PCs by adding hard drives and an operating system.
This training was designed to introduce the principles of solar installation to teachers from three remote rural schools where we will be installing solar panels next week. Teachers came from Dibbwi, Manchamvwa Inland and Nashongo primary schools.
After some explanation of how solar power works, and how to care for a solar system, it was hands-on to connect the panels in pairs. The teachers will transport the equipment to their schools and Giakonda Solar Schools will oversee installation next week.
We are very grateful to have received funding for these solar installations under the Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme