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Refurbishing an old PC

Category : News

The purpose of today is to explain how to refurbish an old PC or laptop by adding a hard drive and an operating system. Thanks to a generous donor in UK, we have already brought more than 100 PCs and monitors to Siavonga.

Looking inside a PC

This training will enable teachers and IT technicians to get the machines up and working for use in their schools. They will understand the hardware, firmware and software.

adding an SSD drive

Long term, there will be fewer PCs discarded when things go wrong.


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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


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Amazon Smile

Category : News

Don’t forget to support Giakonda Solar Schools when you shop on Amazon. Every little helps us buy more equipment for rural schools in Zambia.

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1169138-0


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Updated instructions for Installing Kolibri

Category : News

We have been busy updating our instructions for installing Kolibri and Raspbian on older PCs and laptops. This makes a very useful platform for adding educational resources and monitoring pupils’ use of them.

Download here.


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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


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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.

 


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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.


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Training at Monze Resource Centre

Category : News , zambia

We held two training sessions at Monze Resource Centre which were each attended by 18 teachers from local schools. Howard introduced Libre Office Writer and Libre Office Calc which we supplied on donated laptops to three of the more remote schools.

Monze Resource Centre

Teachers soon got to grips with the software and feedback from the session was very positive.

training in Monze Resource Centretraining at Monze Resource centre


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Kampuna

Category : News , solarpower

We planned to visit Kampuna, a rural school built by Friends of Monze. It is a standard design school consisting of 3 classrooms and a head teacher office. It has no mains power.
Our purpose was to install two 320W solar Panels and two 220Amh Batteries to provide power.
We expected to be using the vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Education – a Land Cruiser that can cope well off-road. Due to a mix-up we had no land cruiser. A local boarding school stepped in to provide a lorry!
panels on lorryKampuna community members

Members of the local community helped get the panels on the roof and connected to the batteries. They mounted the solar controller, fuse box and battery gauge neatly on a piece of wood. The solar set up was complete.

up on to the roofsetting up battery and controllers
The school can use solar power to charge laptops, run a projector and have LED lighting. We also installed a Raspberry Pi computer which acts as a wireless hotspot and delivers an off-line learning resource called RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning). This resource contains a vast amount of learning materials to help teachers research unfamiliar subjects, prepare lessons and present them via the projector. It can be accessed via any wireless enabled device.
Some women from the PTA spent a lot of time looking at health guides and at African storybooks.
An enterprising local barber turned up with his clippers and gave Howard a haircut! He had immediately seen the potential of solar power.

gauges for solar set up


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Mwiinga Malimvwa

Category : News , solarpower

Solar Panels for Mwiinga Malimvwa School

Friends of Monze have just completed the building of a 3 classroom school and teacher’s house in the very remote village of Mwiinga Malimvwa.

Villagers made the bricks and provided the labour. Nine young people were trained as apprentice bricklayers on the project. All completed the qualification including three young women.

Giakonda Solar Schools installed two solar panels to provide power for LED lighting, laptops and a projector. We also set up RACHEL on a Raspberry Pi so that the school has a large learning resource.

Mwiinga Malimvwa viewExplaining parts of solar set upsolar set upsolar panelsattaching to batterysetting up panelsUp on to the roofpanels in place

Today was the official handover to the District Education Board Secretary. About 400 people turned up to join the celebration, and partake of the feast.. There was singing and dancing, but also a lot of long speeches!

dancingpupils waiting to danceYoung female bricklayer