Bridging the digital divide for rural Schools in Malawi

We have been deploying computers to schools in Malawi for the past 4 years and one of the biggest challenges we continue to face in utilizing these important resources in rural and off-grid communities is access to power. According to ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ only 11% of the total population in Malawi have access to electricity, which is roughly just 1.99 million people out of 18.14 million as of 2019. As alarming as that sounds, the rural communities suffer more with only 4% of the rural population having access to electricity, compared to the 42% of urban communities having access to electricity. This means that these already poor, rural communities are being further marginalised from today’s digital world. 

How Do We Bridge ‘The Digital Divide’ For Rural Schools? 

In partnership with the Turing Trust we have embarked on an ambitious pilot project to install tablets and a projector at Ntchuwa Primary School, in Salima District, powered only by a solar charging system. Focusing on solar power instead of electricity helps to bridge the gap for rural populations to have access to technologies. This project will further give teachers and students access to information and communication technologies for learning at a lower cost, just like their urban and on-grid communities. The success of this project to increase rural schools access to technology through solar energy is only made possible thanks to funding from Power2Africa and Amber Energy.

Our Progress So Far

CYD team testing the system.

The tablets have safely arrived in Malawi from the United Kingdom, amidst the logistical hiccups from COVID-19. Education resources have been installed in the Tablets. The solar equipment has been purchased and we have also completed a trial run at our offices in Mzuzu. So far the system is working perfectly and the CYD team will keep you posted on any updates. 

As soon as schools open, the CYD team will drive 350 kilometres to install the tablets and projector at Ntchuwa Primary School in Salima. The system will enable 10 teachers and 471 students (264 girls and 277 Boys) to gain digital experience, while having access to important educational resources, without relying on electricity. The tablets contain various educational resources including the One Billion Masamu application, which supports early graders with numeracy. Teachers will use the Projector to beam the lessons during class sessions. 

The CYD team will keep monitoring the pilot project and will provide updates on our website and our social media platforms. There is still plenty of projects and work to help provide digital access to rural schools in Malawi, so please support our work by either Donating to our efforts or following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIN

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