RACHEL training

Category : News , sponsors

Daniel demonstrating on smartphoneThanks 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.

PIgnatelli Foundation logo


School resources bound for Zambia

Category : News , sponsors

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”.

PIgnatelli Foundation logo


Giving Tuesday

Category : News

We’re a few week’s away from #GivingTuesday. We hope to use 3rd December as an opportunity to raise our profile and raise some extra cash to support schools in rural Zambia.

Since January 2015, we have been supplying solar power and learning resources to the Siavonga District of Zambia. Most of the funding to set up each new school comes from grants. For about £3000, we can install solar panels to power LED lighting, laptops, a projector or TV for class lessons and the Raspberry Pi with all the off-line learning resources of RACHEL. This consists of a huge library of articles, videos and lesson plans about all subjects of the curriculum, plus advice on health, farming etc tailored for rural communities. It creates its own wifi hotspot. Users can connect via smartphone, tablet or laptop.

We think the Pi server is so useful that we should donate it to every school, clinic, library or community organisation in the District. That’s where you can help.

The new improved Raspberry Pi 4 costs from £35 to £54 depending on memory size. A power supply for it is £8.
The microsd card on which we preload all the learning resources costs £24.
A case that can be screwed securely to the wall costs £15.
Total= about £100 but the value to the recipient is priceless.

Donate here

 


Milz at the Hyst

Category : News

Milz the Teacher, trustee of Giakonda Solar Schools Zambia, headlined at The Hyst in Swansea during the recent visit of Siavonga teachers.

Milz at The Hyst

It was a great evening of Reggae music.


Siavonga Teachers Visit

Category : News

A bit of a gap in news doesn’t mean we’ve been idle. Following our visit in June, we had reports to write and applications for funding for the next venture. This week we are pleased to see a group of teachers from Siavonga visiting Swansea under the British Council Connecting Classrooms Scheme.

Zambian teachers at British Council

Howard has been refurbishing and installing software on laptops for them to take back. We’re also sending a Raspberry Pi Weather station which will be used by the Geography Department at Siavonga High School to add to a worldwide schools data base.


June Visit

Category : News

Can’t believe we’ve been home for four weeks already! It was a very successful visit on all fronts and we’ve been busy organising information and writing reports ever since.

Feedback from schools in Zambia has been consistently positive, however after 4 years of work there, it was  time to review our activities and gain a fuller understanding of the impact of them. We set out to do this monitoring exercise with the support of The Waterloo Foundation.

We visited all 14 solar schools which have received solar panels thanks to one of the following donors:
University of Wales Trinity St Davids
S&C Electric
Hub Cymru Africa
Solar Plants
The Waterloo Foundation
Wales For Africa

Read our report here.

Also on this trip, we installed solar panels at Malimba School on behalf of Friends of Monze and held training sessions in Monze and Chilanga Districts.


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”.

 

 


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