Category Archives: zambia

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.


Training on using Raspberry PI PC

Category : News , zambia

Raspberry Pi in VESA mountOur Zambian colleague, Joel, held a training session for us in Lusaka. He demonstrated the use of a Raspberry Pi as a fully functioning PC which can be mounted neatly on the back of its monitor .Thanks to VOTS school for letting us use their building for training. A total of fourteen teachers

RACHEL

attended and all were impressed with the power and versatility of this tiny computer.They also used the Raspberry Pi to connect to a server delivering RACHEL learning resources.

 

We are setting up a hub of Raspberry Pi computers at Bbakasa School thanks to Welsh Government’s  Wales and Africa Scheme.
Wales and Africa Logo

 


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.


A busy week training in Chilanga

Category : zambia

We spent our last week in Zambia training teachers in the Chilanga area just south of Lusaka. 29 teachers from 12 different schools attended and participated wholeheartedly.

The first day was devoted to considering big questions. What is ICT / Computer Studies / Digital Literacy? Why should it be taught? What is its application across the whole curriculum?

Why teach ICTimportance of ICT

Other sessions included tips and shortcuts in Word Processing and spreadsheets from Libre Office; RACHEL learning resources; and Kolibri pupil monitoring platform. A Special Needs teacher explained how interested her pupils were in the videos on RACHEL and how it helped her teach things like Sign language. Another teacher discovered African Story Books in the local language Bembe.

training in ChilangaSEN teacherHoward showing Raspberry PiAfrican Stories in Bembe

Teachers agreed that the RACHEL learning resources on Raspberry Pi server made teaching and learning easy and enjoyable. “Learners can get the concept more easily”. Many said they would share what they had learned with colleagues so that the training would benefit the whole school. One concluded “I am enjoying each day that passes. I cannot wait for tomorrow”.

 

 


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

 


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


Bbakasa School

Category : News , zambia

Bbakasa is a remote rural school covering a large area stretching down to the Lower Zambezi. As such, it has many challenges. All the equipment was in place and since our last visit the school had received funding to add to the solar array.  Unfortunately it had suffered a lightning strike and the solar controller/inverter had been damaged.  We can not over-emphasise the need for earthing rods and lightning conductors  in the construction of schools where thunderstorms are frequent.

Bbakasa schoolbbakasaBbakasa HTsolar panels

Everything else looked OK and we hope to rectify the problems. The Head Teacher is well organised and his staff were familiar with RACHEL and had used the resources in their planning and teaching. We gave them an updated Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and an additional laptop. We were keen to get feedback on the impact of our project and teachers filled in our questionnaire. This part of our visit is funded by The Waterloo Foundation.

teachers at Bbakasademonstrating laptop


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


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