Category Archives: zambia

Health Help Zambia

Category : News , zambia

While in Monze, we are staying at Health Help Zambia. Their parent organisation Health Help International is based in Newport, South Wales.

HHI aims to help individuals and whole communities; to lift them out of abject poverty when even trying to get the most basic food on the table can be a struggle. Disease and disability are very common in Zambia and HHI takes every opportunity to help improve health and wellbeing of people in need.

Help also includes offering forms of skills training to enable individuals to improve their prospects for the future. Many individual disabled people from near and far find their way to the centre in Monze seeking direct help with acquiring mobility aids, clothing, food or funding to support training or schooling.

lorry of equipment all set for MalimbaCarole Nzila

Last night we went to visit Carole Nzila who is the Administration manager.

We showed Carole the Raspberry Pi server delivering RACHEL learning resources. There is a small library at the Health Help offices and we thought that the Pi  resources would supplement the books they have at present.


Technical Computer Training at Monze Resource Centre

Category : News , zambia

There was a very good turnout for our first day of teacher training in Monze District. Most had brought their laptops with them but we had plenty to lend to those who had not.

After general introductions, Howard gave an overview of the courses this week.

Today’s course was intended for teachers with good knowledge of IT so it aimed at explaining how to handle things when there were slight issues.

Technical Training at Monze Resource CentreTechnical Training at Monze Resource Centre

I interviewed the deputy Resource Centre administrator about how they had used the Raspberry Pi server we left last year. It was very pleasing to discover that teachers and students from 13 schools in Monze Central Zone and 9 in Tagore Zone regularly used the centre for research. When they did, they accessed RACHEL learning resources via laptops and smart phones.


Malimba School, Monze District

Category : News , solarpower , zambia

We’re here in Monze District to deliver some teacher training and to install solar panels at Malimba School. This school has been newly built by Friends of Monze who asked us to install the panels on their behalf.

lorry of equipment all set for Malimbaschool children greeting us

 

We set off early with the solar panels lying on a mattress on the back of a lorry. Our route took us through a large farm. We had to stop and have the tyres sprayed as there is Foot and Mouth around.
We were greeted by excited school children on our arrival.

unloading lorryHoward explaining about solarsetting up panels at Malimbosetting up a battery

The equipment was unloaded and Howard ran through the principles of the installation with a group of teachers and members of the local community. Several of them had installed small panels before so understood the process.

We brought a projector, laptops and RACHEL learning resources on a Raspberry Pi server. Teachers and members of the local community were very interested in the various modules. A mother brought her toddler to hear the African story Books and some of the ladies even read stories to Howard in the local language Chitonga.

Ladies looking at RACHEL using laptopschild looking at storyladies reading in Chitonga

A local smith is making a frame for the panels and this should be all done and up on the roof by the time we return to Malimba on Friday for the official opening.

 


Off to Zambia soon!

Category : News , sponsors , zambia

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 DavidsS & 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.


Computers on their way to Zambia

Category : News , sponsors , zambia

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.

refurbishing a PC

Meanwhile we were busy showing teachers here how to refurbish the PCs by adding hard drives and an operating system.


Meeting with District Education Board Secretary

Category : News , zambia

This morning we had a very useful meeting with The District Education Board Secretary and her Standards Officer. We discussed our program and advised them of our progress.

Yesterday teachers agreed to meet once a month to share and solve IT issues. They will report back to us so we can better identify the problems facing them.

We discussed the best way to refurbish the PCs that have already arrived and those in transit. The Standards Officer will allocate them according to school needs.

We explained our next visit, (planned for June), which will be focussed on finding out the impact we have had so far. We will be carrying out interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions. We will also be looking at school statistics.

DEBS has kindly offered to provide transport to do the solar installations next week- dependent on road conditions. We will be installing solar panels in Dibbwi, Nashongo, and Manchamvwa Inland Schools thanks to funding under the Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme.

WElsh Government Wales for Africa Scheme logo


Solar Installation Training at Siavonga High School

Category : News , solarpower , sponsors , zambia

 

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.

 solar system
crimping connectors for solar panels

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  

WElsh Government Wales for Africa Scheme logo


Kolibri

Category : News , zambia

We are excited to be installing Kolibri on the laptops and Raspberry Pi computers we take to Zambia.

What is Kolibri?

Kolibri is a Learning Management System  designed to run on low-power devices, targeting the needs of learners and teachers where there is limited infrastructure. A user can install Kolibri and serve the app on a local network, without an internet connection. Kolibri installations can be linked to one another, so that user data and content can be shared. Users can create content for Kolibri and share it when there is network access to another Kolibri installation or the internet.

At its core, Kolibri is about serving educational content. A typical user (called a Learner) will log in to Kolibri to consume educational content (videos, documents, other multimedia). They can test their understanding of the content by completing exercises and quizzes, with immediate feedback. A user’s activity will be tracked to offer individualized insight (like “next lesson” recommendations), and to allow user data to be synced across different installations — so a Kolibri learner can use his or her credentials on any linked Kolibri installation, for instance on different devices at a school.

Read more about the ideas behind Kolibri here

How to install Kolibri

Find out how to install it here


Annual Report

Category : News , zambia

I’ve just submitted the annual report for Giakonda Solar Schools to the Charities Commission. What a busy and productive year it’s been!

SEP 2017

We made a visit to Siavonga, Southern District, Zambia. Our party consisted of four trustees and three other volunteers.
Giakonda Solar Schools volunteers visit Kariba Dam
We used a £3000 grant from The Waterloo Foundation to undertake a solar installation at Kawila Primary School. We also donated 4 laptops, LED lighting, a projector, and a Raspberry Pi computer acting as a hotspot to deliver RACHEL offline solar set uplearning resources. (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning).
On that same visit we installed a Synology Server with RACHEL in three large schools that had mains power, and held 7 teacher training sessions.
We put a Raspberry Pi server and RACHEL in Siavonga Teachers Resource Centre.

Meanwhile in Swansea: we volunteered to be part of BBC DIYSOS project to set up and equip a supported living house for care leavers. We supplied and installed 12 PCs and laptops there, along with a wifi network.

JAN 2018:

Giakonda Solar Schools received the Hub Cymru Africa (HCA) Innovation Award for our effective solution for supplying learning resources to rural off-grid schools in Zambia.
award trophy made of Welsh Oak and slate
FEB/MARCH 2018

With a grant of £10000 from HCA we carried ouLake Karibat  solar installations in three schools, two of which were only accessible by boat. We gave each school 2 laptops, LED lighting, and a projector, plus the Raspberry Pi with RACHEL.

Training sessions were held at Siavonga High School.
We took part in Internationinternational Womens Dayal Womens’ Day and Youth Day and Howard was invited to address the Engineering Institute of Zambia Conference on the importance of learning computer science. We established good working relations with the new District Education Board Secretary in Siavonga.

We set up a group interested in taking part in a beekeeping project. Members consisted of a local womens’ group, Daughters of Naomi, and teachers from four rural schools.
We visited Monze District to assess needs of Kampuna School so that we could return later in the year to install solar power there. We held a teacher training session and met the Monze District Education Board Secretary. We also met a Bee trainer to arrange for him to support the group in Siavonga.
Before we left Zambia, we held well attended training sessions at Chilanga Primary School(Lusaka) and met Chilanga DEBS.

JUN 2018:

We were given £5000 to be spent on behalf of Friends of Monze.
With this, we installed solar panels in Kampuna and Mwiinga Malimvwa schools, supplying laptops, LED lights, Projectors and Raspberry Pi with RACHEL.

panels at mwiinga Malimvwa
We held 5 training sessions at Lushomo School, Monze Primary School and Monze Resource Centre.
We supplied RACHEL on a Raspberry Pi to 5 other schools, the Teachers’ Resource Centre and the DEBS office.
Our bee trainer, Phillip, delivered Phillip demonstrating hivesthree days hands on training and set up hives in Siavonga schools (Kabbila, Kawila, Matuwa, Bbakhasa) and for the Daughters of Naomi.

We met with Registrar of NGOs in Lusaka and began the process of getting registered as international NGO there.

AUG 2018:

The bee trainer made a follow up visit taking another hive for each group. He was pleased to report that there were bees in the hives at 2 locations.

If after reading this you feel like supporting us please donate here.

 


Grant funding for 2019

Category : News , solarpower , sponsors , zambia

We are very pleased to announce that we have received the following grant funding for 2019.

Wales for Africa Grants

Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa Grants Scheme has awarded Giakonda Solar Schools £10,000 to supply solar power to three more schools in the Siavonga District of Zambia. We’ve identified these with the help of the local District Education Board Secretary. We hope to visit in the spring to carry out the project, which also includes the installation of laptops, projectors, and LED lights. At the centre of our solution lies the offline learning resource of RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning). This is delivered to all wireless enabled devices via a Raspberry Pi computer used as a wireless hotspot.

The Waterloo Foundation

We must also thank The Waterloo Foundation who have awarded us £3200 to carry out research in Siavonga District. We want to find out the impact our project is having on pupils, teachers and the wider community served by the schools. We have supplied solar power as the infrastructure for learning resources. Now we need to prove the impact that has had. We’ll publish our findings on our return from Zambia.