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

 


Sharing and Learning with Hub Cymru Africa

Category : News

This week we have been busy with events organised by Hub Cymru Africa.

On Wednesday we attended a meeting in Swansea based around the International Charter for Health Partnerships. We shared our experiences of building strong local partnerships and using them to help us address local educational needs in Siavonga Zambia.

Howard sharing experiences of working with local partners

Yesterday it was a Meet The Funders event. Grants and donations are what allow us to function. So it is vital to understand how best to make an application. There were opportunities to speak to individual funding organisations and chances to network.

So today I’m all fired up to start bid-writing!


Making partnerships

Category : News

This month we have been busy meeting several other Wales based charities working in Zambia. We offer advice on setting up solar panels and Raspberry Pi servers with the learning resources of RACHEL and Kolibri.

Giakonda Solar Schools helps Friends of Monze by installing solar power in the schools they build and supplying refurbished laptops and the learning resources. We met with them recently to discuss their future needs.

Howard has refurbished some laptops and added Kolibri resources to them for Elizabeth Rhodes who works with orphans and others in Zambia.

We are looking forward to a second meeting with Hands Around the World to discuss how they might proceed with their two projects in Zambia. They are particularly interested in the health resources on the Hesperian Health Guides which is part of RACHEL.

At the end of the month, we are sharing details of our project at an event organised by Hub Cymru Africa.


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.


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.