Dec 9, 2019

Zanzibar Computer Classroom Update #2

Some students working on their assignments
Some students working on their assignments

Hello from Zanzibar!

Introduction

As a result of the generous donation that you made through Global Giving, we now have a computer classroom complete with 12 laptop computers. Since our last update, we have been busy putting the finishing touches on the computer classroom and procuring all of the needed equipment to make the Welcome Ideas Computer Classroom a reality. We are currently offering two Beginning IT in Tourism courses and will begin offering an Intermediate IT in Tourism class shortly. Before and after classes the computer classroom is a-buzz with students practicing typing, finishing assignments for IT, and preparing presentations or documents for other classes.

Facility Preparation & Equipment Procurement

As part of our last update, we had mentioned that we would need to purchase an air conditioning unit to ensure we keep the classroom dust-free and at an ideal temperature to allow students to learn. Since then, we were able to work with our landlord who purchased and installed the air conditioning unit for us as part of our new lease agreement, leaving us with the much-needed funds to purchase additional computers. As of the last update, we had the funds available to purchase 9 computers – but as a result of the work we did to ensure the landlord covered the cost of the air conditioning unit, we were able to purchase 12 computers.

After the successful installation of air conditioning in the computer classroom, we had workers (“fundis” as they are called in Zanzibar) seal the doors to ensure dust cannot enter the classroom. We also contracted with fundis who made metal security gates for each door entering the computer classroom to act as a deterrent and preventative measure against theft. After completing all of the facility work needed to secure and protect the computers, we were finally ready to install the computers in the classroom.

Since we were able to purchase 12 computers instead of 9, our IT vendor was able to offer us an additional 50,000 shilling discount per computer off the original price which was 1,200,000 shillings per computer. This rate is guaranteed through the remainder of the year and into early next year, so we can purchase the remaining computers at the same price. Through our vendor, we were able to secure Lenovo laptop computers with 15.6 inch screens, i5 processors, 4GB of RAM, with Windows, Microsoft Office, and Antivirus software installed. These specifications have met our needs well and our vendor has already installed all 12 laptops in our classroom. Having laptops is essential in Zanzibar as we often experience power cuts and the battery powered laptops allow our students to continue their work in class even during power cuts. We also have purchased voltage regulators to ensure we are able to protect the computers from the extreme power fluctuations on the island.

An updated financial expenditure document has been included below, so you can see all of the financial expenditures we have made to-date to prepare the computer classroom for our students.

Beginning IT in Tourism Courses

We have already begun 2 sets of our Beginning IT in Tourism course. Students taking this course have been focused on learning typing/keyboarding as well as the basics of Microsoft Office. Every class begins with 30 minutes of typing practice where we use Typing Instructor Platinum to provide lessons and practice for students to work on increasing their typing speed. Most students come in early, so they can get a jump start on typing practice and have additional time to improve their typing speed. Students measure their own words per minute and compete with themselves and other students to improve their speed. In the next update we’ll provide you with the average word per minute increase of our Beginning IT students.

After completing typing, students then watch a 30-minute demo of the days lesson on Microsoft Office. They have the opportunity to ask questions, see the functions as used by the instructor, and take notes on the day’s lesson. Students are then given the remaining hour of class to complete an assignment that corresponds with the daily lesson. The instructor then assists students with their assignments on an individual basis.

After completing the Beginning IT in Tourism Course, students will be able to use Microsoft Word to create a business plan, Microsoft Excel to create basic financial documents, and Microsoft Powerpoint to create business presentations. We hope you enjoy the pictures included in this update of some of our beginning level students in the new computer classroom.

Intermediate IT in Tourism Course

We have a number of students anxiously awaiting our intermediate IT course. We have not yet been able to offer this course since we have had to split the beginning IT students into two groups/classes as our computer classroom has only half of the computers needed to be at full capacity. If we had 24 computers in the classroom, we would already be offering both a beginning and intermediate level course.

Our students have been very understanding of the delay and will be starting this course shortly as we work on freeing up the teaching resources required to be able to offer this class. Our intermediate course will continue to have a typing/keyboarding component, will provide students with instruction on more advanced Microsoft Office functionality, will teach students Quickbooks, and (provided we have the funding for internet) will include a web design component. Our next update will include pictures and a more detailed overview of the intermediate course.

Open Computer Lab Time

Before and after class, you can always find students in the computer classroom. They are either practicing typing, working on their assignments, or preparing work for other classes. We are working on a system to ensure all students have access to computer lab time through-out the week. It is great to see the students putting your donation to good use each and every day.

More Classes and Successes are on the Horizon

Currently our only limitation is the number of computers we have available and our teaching resources. We are looking forward to having 24 laptops in the computer classroom (with one additional laptop for the instructor). We still need about $6700 USD to purchase all of the computers & equipment we need to be at full capacity. If you know anyone who might want to help support this project, please consider sharing it via the Global Giving link below.

We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and your support of this project. We have included some links below to share more information about the work we do at Welcome Ideas, which you can learn about via the link to our newsletter. We have also included another link to the video of our students thanking you for your generous support (this was included in the last update – but we wanted to include it again in case you missed it). Finally, we also included a link to a thank you video highlighting some of the computer graphic/animation work we will be teaching to our students.

We hope you enjoy the attached pictures of our new computer classroom in action!

Thank you! (or as we say in Zanzibar “Ahsante Sana!”)

A student practicing typing
A student practicing typing
A student adding bullet points to a list in Word
A student adding bullet points to a list in Word
Another student hard at work
Another student hard at work
Another student finishing up the day's assignment
Another student finishing up the day's assignment
One of 12 new laptops for our computer classroom
One of 12 new laptops for our computer classroom

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Attachments:
Sep 9, 2019

Zanzibar Computer Classroom Update

Students Completing their 1st Short Course
Students Completing their 1st Short Course

Hello from Zanzibar!

Introduction

We are very excited to tell you about the progress of our project to build a computer classroom for the Welcome Ideas school in Zanzibar.  In mid-August, we received over $6,400 USD from the Global Giving Fundraiser that you so generously supported!  We have transferred those funds to our bank account in Zanzibar and are already in the process of setting up the classroom, securing the equipment, and scheduling our upcoming IT classes.

Classroom Set-Up

To prepare for classes in the computer classroom, we painted one of the walls with a screen - so that our teachers will be able to "demo" different program features and functions for the students.  We also installed a whiteboard, to aid in instruction, as well as tables and chairs for 24 students.  

To protect the computers that you so generously helped us purchase, we are working on a variety of activities to prepare the classroom to protect this investment.  Computers are often a target of thieves on Zanzibar and this is especially true with schools that have computer classrooms.  We have contracted a craftsman (fundi) from the local community who builds metal security doors & gates.  He is building two locking metal security doors for us that will secure the computer classroom from the hallway and the outside balcony.  

In addition to thieves, dust and the African heat also can wreak havoc on computers in Zanzibar.  We have contracted with another fundi to help us fix the hallway and balcony doors to limit the dust that gets into the classroom.  Finally, to maintain a dust free environment, we will need to keep all of the windows closed.  As you can imagine, this will create a very hot classroom.  To combat the heat, we have ordered an air conditioning unit for the classroom to keep it cool during the hot Zanzibar days.

Securing Equipment

As a result of the fluctuating power in Zanzibar, we will be purchasing voltage regulators to ensure the computers are not damaged.  We will be purchasing 6 voltage regulators and 6 power strips for the classroom and have found a vendor who will be able to offer these to us at a very reasonable price.

The computers we will be purchasing will be laptop computers (since laptops will continue to work through all of the power outages that occur on the island).  We are working with Stone Town Traders, an IT and office equipment vendor on the island, who is looking for the best price for 25 laptop computers for our classroom.  24 laptops for students and 1 laptop for the teacher.  In addition to getting the best price, we also are trying to secure computers that we can purchase in phases (since we have not yet reached our $15,000 goal).  We want to ensure that all 25 computers are the same, even though we will be purchasing 9 now and 16 more when we reach our $15,000 goal.  To receive this quantity of computers, Stone Town Traders will be ordering them from Dubai.  We are hopeful that the computers are delivered quickly without any customs delays.

Transparency & Anti-Corruption

When working in East Africa and ordering equipment in such quantities, there is always a concern about corruption.  Any vendor that does more than $1000 USD in business with us is required to abide by and sign our Transparency & Anti-Corruption policy.  We work diligently to ensure that all of our vendors meet the highest standards, since we do not want to be associated with vendors or individuals involved in corruption.  Stone Town Traders has been provided with and has agreed to abide by our transparency & anti-corruption policy.  They have read and signed our policy, so you can be assured that your donation is going directly to purchase these computers and not to bribes or facilitation payments for government officials.

Upcoming Classes

In mid-August, our first set of students completed short courses in Introduction to Tourism and Tourism Leadership Development.  We are so proud of each of them and have attached a few pictures of these students with their certificates (they are very proud too). Each of these students have signed up for either Beginning IT or Intermediate IT, which we will be offering beginning September 23rd(as long as the computers arrive by then). We also completed interviews for our next set of short courses and about half of those students will also be enrolled in IT courses.  In addition to these IT Short Courses, where students will learn the basics of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook; students have also requested a Social Media Marketing class and a YouTube class – they are planning a YouTube channel where they can post videos of some of their skits and role plays that they do for class.

Open Computer Lab Time

In addition to the upcoming classes, we will be assigning each of the students’ computer lab time through-out the week, where they can come in and use the computers to practice typing, work on assignments, and practice their new computer skills.  Several of our students are working on starting their own businesses and will be using this time to do internet marketing, create reports, or build websites for their business.  One student, Feisal, has opened up his own juice bar in Zanzibar (we’ve included a picture of him in front of his new juice bar).  He is currently using Google Sheets on an old smartphone to enter all of the data for his income & expense reports.  Thanks to your generosity, he will be able to come in and use one of the laptops on a regular basis to enter all of this information.  Another student, Ashrina, just received a funding award to open her own spice farm and tour (we’ve included a picture of her receiving her award).  Again, thanks to your generosity, she will be able to come in and use the computers to design a website for her new business.

Sisi Women & Children

In Zanzibar, women are often excluded from computer education programs beginning in primary & secondary schools.  Unfortunately, this has a major impact on their future educational and career opportunities.  We are now partnering with Sisi Women & Children, a Zanzibar based nonprofit, to help combat this trend and empower women in Zanzibar through technology and education (we've included a link to Sisi Women & Children's website below). We will be working with our female students and Sisi Women & Children to provide mentors to girls in primary and secondary schools who are interested in learning more about IT & computers.  Our students will be able to share their new expertise and help these young girls learn how to leverage computers & technology in their lives, their education, and their careers.  Thanks to your donation, our students will be able to take their skills and help a younger generation build their computer skills.

This is Just the Beginning

Over the next few months we will be training almost 50 students using the computers you funded.  Within the next year, over 100 students will have benefit from having access to these classes and the computer classroom.  Our only limitation is the number of computers we have available. We still need about $8400 USD to purchase all of the computers & equipment we need.  If you know anyone who might want to help support this project, please consider sharing it via the Global Giving link below.

We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and your support of this project.  Some of our students heard about your generosity and put together a video for you to say thank you.  Use the “Students Say Thank You” link below to hear them thank you for your donation to this project!

Thank you! (or as we say in Zanzibar “Ahsante Sana!”)

Students looking forward to IT Courses
Students looking forward to IT Courses
Our student, Feisal, in front of his juice shop
Our student, Feisal, in front of his juice shop
Our student, Ashrina, receiving a funding award
Our student, Ashrina, receiving a funding award
Future IT students working on a team project
Future IT students working on a team project
Future IT students discussing a group project
Future IT students discussing a group project

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