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Empowering school communities in Uganda through the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom

The Maendeleo Foundation through its Mobile Solar Computer Classroom Project has secured a US$ 3,000 FIRE Africa Award. The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom consists of a modified all terrain vehicle equipped with a solar system, low-power laptops, an internet router, a tent, chairs and tables.

Kibiribiri Primary School is one out of the 10 rural schools in Uganda, which the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom Project is empowering with relevant computer skills. In a country where only 10% of the population has access to electricity, 23% have access to the Internet and the costs of access high; the quality of learning is highly affected. Most schools stick to rote learning where students repeat after a teacher and take notes from the blackboard. There is no research or supplementing the learning resources at all.

“I was so excited to see computers in my school. When the training team showed up, I was a little nervous about how they would train since we our school had no electricity and not a single computer in my school. I was mesmerised to see a fully equipped car with all the equipment that a computer lab has. The children went wild; teachers could not hold their eagerness to touch a computer for the very first time.

At first it was just excitement but as time went on, we started observing several results such as improvement in the students’ confidence, active participation in class and improvement in our children’s reading and writing skills. Our students were very shy even to give answers in class. And now we see them very actively participating in class and co curricula activities. They freely share the information they get to fellow students, teachers and even their parents. I am so glad my school is part of this life changing program” Ms. Robbinah headteacher of Kibiribiri Primary School.

The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom Project not only brings excitement and relevant computer skills to these schools and the communities around, but breathes life into learning by providing students, teachers and community members with an incredible amount of learning resources downloaded from the internet. Students, and teachers slowly outgrow their fear for technology and they start to explore, learn, create and collaborate. With resources downloaded from the internet, the project gives schools and libraries in the remotest of villages a chance to participate in a new world of learning that gives them power as individuals, keeps them motivated to stay in school and above all gives them a chance at a future full of opportunities.

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