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.

International Development Summit May 2019

Category : News

Giakonda Solar Schools was pleased to host a stall on 2nd May at the Wales International Development Summit organised by Hub Cymru Africa and Wales Overseas Agencies Group.
Wales International Development Summit

There were opportunities to see what other organisations were doing and to hear speakers emphasise the importance of ordinary people taking action to improve the lives of others.

We were able to share our project with other charities operating in Lesotho, Kenya, Cameroon,Tanzania and other parts of Africa. We demonstrated the RACHEL learning resources on Raspberry Pi and distributed leaflets on setting up small solar power systems.

The event ended with an inspiring performance from the wonderful Hijinks Theatre.

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.

The activity never stops!

Category : News

Despite it being a Saturday, several enthusiastic teachers agreed to join us at Siavonga Teachers’ Resource Centre to set up equipment.

We are using some donated PCs to create a small network for offline research. The centre very rarely has internet access but its users have regularly gained information and knowledge from the offline RACHEL learning resources.

Teachers will be able to browse in their free time or when attending meetings. They may also be able to make use of the PCs during teacher training sessions which are held there.

adding ssd to old pcworking at new PC

RACHEL / KOLIBRI offline learning resources

Category : News

Today’s training session focussed on exploring various offline learning resources we are supplying, thanks to funding from the Welsh Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme.

WElsh Government Wales for Africa Scheme logo

Teachers used laptops to connect to a Raspberry Pi acting as a server for the RACHEL learning resources. Their task was to explore the many extensive modules and locate information that would tie in with their ScheClose upof RACHEL on donated pcmes of Work.

One teacher from a school with no mains power chose to look at African StoryBooks. The Raspberry Pi server can be run from a good phone charger or power bank.


Kolibri resources can be downloaded on to a laptop. Teachers can monitor use of the various modules by individual pupils.

using RACHEL

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

Network Maintenance training

Category : News

The purpose of today’s workshop was to show teachers how to repair network cables. This avoids them having to scrap damaged cables. They will be able to simply cut them and put new ends on. Each school has a tester kit which they can use to check that everything is wired correctly.

putting ends on cable
working togetherWe went outside to measure a long length of cable to extend the wireless access to the staff room.

measuring how much cable is used


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.