Powering Potential’s award-winning programs were designed in pursuit of three primary goals.
- Provide Technological Infrastructure so rural schools are able to teach the national Information and Computer Studies (ICS) curriculum. Most rural schools lack the equipment required to teach the national ICS curriculum. They cannot afford computers and lack access to electricity. This necessitates utilizing solar power systems.
- Provide Access to digital educational resources. Though online access would be ideal, internet service is oftentimes prohibitively expensive in rural areas, so PPI’s programs currently focus on offline digital libraries in the form of RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning) systems.
- Provide Training for select school staff so they are able to effectively facilitate use.
SPARC (Solar Powered Access to Raspberry Computing)
We’ve been designing and implementing this program since 2007. We currently use solar powered Raspberry Pi computer motherboards. Thanks to the innovative Raspberry Pi’s energy efficiency, affordability, and open-source philosophy, it is the ideal vehicle for addressing Powering Potential’s three stated goals.
First, Powering Potential collaborates with local district education officers to identify a good recipient school. The school then provides a secure room with tables and chairs to house the computers. By Western standards, this may seem like an insignificant investment, but in poorer rural areas this stipulation alone can be quite exclusive. The school identifies one or two permanent teachers who have some computer experience and are committed to managing the computer lab and delivering basic technology instruction as part of their teaching workload. We provide a specialized three-week Train-the-Trainer course to prepare the selected teachers to lead tech literacy classes. These trainer classes include the basics of networking, hardware, word processing, database and file management, RACHEL maintenance, e-mail use, and web research.
After an appropriate recipient school has been selected by the district officials, we purchase the supplies from an in-country vendor, transport them to the site, and begin installation. For a basic SPARC system, we install five Raspberry Pi computers, two 85-watt panels, three 108Ah batteries, a 15 amp charge controller, a 350 watt inverter, and a lightning arrester system. A SPARC+ package includes 15 more computers, additional solar panels, six new batteries, and a new charge controller. Both systems include the RACHEL offline digital library by World Possible, which includes selected Wikipedia articles, Khan Academy educational videos for math and science, e-books from Project Gutenberg, and other programs and materials.
The Pi-oneer is an affordable and innovative teaching resource that combines a single Raspberry Pi computer with a solar-powered mobile projector. With a Pi-oneer system, teachers can utilize educational videos and other audiovisual teaching aides to improve student learning outcomes. The Pi-oneer is included in every SPARC installation. We also distribute Pi-oneer systems to schools that might not have the resources to accommodate a full SPARC install.
Banjika in Karatu, Arusha
Welwel in Karatu, Arusha
Florian in Karatu, Arusha
Slahhamo in Karatu, Arusha
Endalah in Karatu, Arusha
Baray in Karatu, Arusha
Soit Sambu in Ngorongoro, Arusha
Lake Natron in Ngorongoro, Arusha
Nainokanoka in Ngorongoro, Arusha
Rigicha in Serengeti, Mara
Sazira in Bunda, Mara
Kabasa in Bunda, Mara
Mekomariro in Bunda, Mara
Tumbe in Micheweni, North Pemba
Fundo in Wete, North Pemba
Jongowe in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Kandwi in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Kidoti in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Kijini in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Mbuyutende in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Pwani Mchangani in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Tumbatu in North A Unguja, North Unguja
Shungi in Chake Chake, South Pemba
Kisiwa Panza Secondary School in Mkoani, South Pemba
Makoongwe in Mkoani, South Pemba
Charawe in Central Unguja, South Unguja
Ukongoroni in Central Unguja, South Unguja
Uzi in Central Unguja, South Unguja
Michamvi in South Unguja, South Unguja
- 29 solar power systems and 203 computers and servers installed in 29 schools in 11 districts
- 23,000+ teachers and students have a world of knowledge at their fingertips
- 60% of respondents report continuing their education
- 57% of respondents report securing employment because of their technology skills
- 2,500+ students enrolled in Tanzanian national ICT courses for secondary schools