Training at eLearning Center held on 13 April 2019
I had a wonderful trip to Malawi between 1-15 April 2019 and went to Mbando village twice during this trip to see how our eLearning Center was doing. Here are some updates for you:
1. Update on laptops:
During the fundraiser, we had promised to supply five laptops. We have done that through purchasing used laptops in Malawi. Then we got a surprise! On 9 April, we got a donation of three more laptops! Carl Meyer of Shift IT accompanied us to the centre and made the donations, which he sourced from a private company called BlueZone. We now have a total of eight laptops for our centre! A big thank you to Carl!
2. Update on Solar power:
We need your support here: We have gone over our budget for the Solar power. Our initial solar power system was inadequate for the power needs of the centre, however, we now have more laptops, and therefore we had to upgrade the solar system. The upgrade through the installation of two new solar panels was done on 8 April by PowerAid and cost us an additional MK646,575. We had used up most of the funds from this crowdfunding and hence paid Mk550,000 to PowerAid using other funds from Abundance (meant for overheads, not connected to this Global Giving funds) and requested some more time to pay the rest. We appeal to you to support us to meet this additional cost, which was not anticipated at the start of the project.
3. Update on training:
On 13 April, we invited Kayetha Banda, an accredited trainer of Shift IT to train users of the eLearning Center. It was heartening to note good participation from the community, who have now constituted an "eLearning Committee" and the Chairman of the Committee keeps the keys to the centre. The trainees vary from Standard 8 students to youth to middle-aged mothers to the elderly. I observed during the training, a Std.8 student was turning on the laptop, logging in with the password, opening the browser, typing the IP address to access the Rachel device, scrolling down to choose Ted Talks and played a Ted Talk video on human bones. He watched the video intently, and his peers joined too. I smiled broadly! This is exactly what we aimed for! This hunger for knowledge, this autonomy, this ability and skill for users to get the knowledge they want! And we thank YOU for supporting the village to achieve this!
Clifford Mkanthama, the Strategic Advisor of Abundance joined us too for the training session. The Rachel has over 400GB of information including e-books. We now have eight volunteers who have agreed to translate books and documents from English to Chichewa for the centre. When we announced this at the training, the community responded with loud applause! We need more training at the centre and need your support for this. Kayetha Banda charges $50 per day for providing training. Our desire is for at least four training every month for a whole year.
4. Chanco TV:
Chanco TV, a local television channel visited our centre on 9 April and interviewed the Head Teacher of the Secondary School where the eLearning Center is located, users of the centre, Carl Meyer our technical adviser, Stewart Paul Secretary of Abundance and myself. It was exciting to see Chanco TV journalists interview the users, one of whom was a young girl. She was asked how the centre helped her. She said that through the centre she accessed information regarding how to make soap and now plans to start soap-making as an income generation activity. The journalist then asked her what was the recipe for soapmaking. Without missing a beat, she went on to list all the ingredients and the method of soapmaking. Such practical knowledge gained from the eLearning centre will help improve lives, we believe.
Enjoy some photographs from the solar power upgrade, training and visit by Chanco TV. As soon as we get a video recording of the TV coverage, we will share with you. Please consider supporting the centre with more funds to meet our unanticipated costs of upgrading the solar power and for conducting more training in the future. Thanks in advance!
Upgrade of the solar power with two new panels
New solar panels installed 8 April 2019
Chanco TV interviews Headteacher
Std. 8 pupils accessing learning materials
Training at eLearning Center 13 April 2019