Many Hands Make “Light” Work
When Giakonda Solar Schools made a recent visit to Zambia, it was really a case of many hands making light work as teachers, pupils and community members joined in to install solar panels in four rural schools.
We have been working in Siavonga, Southern Zambia for the last three years. Together with the local District Education Board Secretary we have identified twenty six schools in the district which have no mains power.
In February this year, thanks to a grant from Hub Cymru Africa and the donation of eight solar panels from SolarPlants, we spent a busy three weeks providing power, lighting and world class educational resources to four primary schools. Howard also delivered computer and technical training to teachers and the community. We worked with three British Council hub schools to improve their network infrastructure.
After giving them half a day’s training, Howard was able to supervise staff and “helpers” to connect up the solar panels in a matter of a few hours. Two 235W panels and a 200Ah battery provide enough power to run LED lights, a router and a Raspberry Pi server which together provided a huge educational resource.
The Raspberry Pi is a small computer designed in Cambridge, made in Bridgend which needs only as much power as a mobile phone. It delivers an offline learning resource called RACHEL (Rural Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning). It is a vast library of articles and videos on everything from literature to agriculture, history to health technology and science. This can be accessed from a laptop and any other wireless enabled device in the locality.
For a remote rural school, this solar set-up represents a big step forward by offering site security, lengthening the working day and providing world class learning materials.
The head teacher of Sianyoolo School commented, “With lights and educational materials like this we feel like a proper school!”