Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association selected our Solar School Computer Lab project with the community of Tiritibol as an exemplary project in the field of renewable energy!
In 2018, ATC and community volunteers installed solar power to electrify classrooms and run a laptop computer lab at Tiritibol Primary School - a village 3 hours away from the nearest high school. It was a true collaborative project: supporters in the US donated used laptops; volunteers brought them down, donors covered installation costs, the community covered food and locally available materials.The high level of participation from the community ensured the project's long term sustainability. They set up a Solar Committee, in charge of maintaining the system and managing a savings account for replacement parts. The school teachers and Parent's Association helped install the system so several community leaders had an in-depth understanding of the technology.
The goal was to teach 180 rural school children how to type so they could access the same modern education of their urban counterparts. With basic computer skills, rural kids have a chance at high school, professional jobs, and university to break out of poverty.
The project was sponsored by a group of 10 friends, alumni of Mount Holyoke College, who stayed in the community for 4 nights and joined the community efforts installing solar the school and town hall now have power to meet at night, charge cellphones, run a computer lab and light up classrooms.
Now, 800 people in Tiritibol have more access to information and opportunities.
When a community leads the development process, we are assured they value the equipment, they maintain it, and they find ways to maximize the impact of their own project. We work in collaboration with community leaders to design & implement green technology projects, making sure community ownership of the project stays front-and-center. The result is an empowered community with more assets to overcome barriers to development.
In a follow-up visit 3 months ago, we returned to find that the laptop computers are not only teaching children how to type, but they began a distance high school program online!
By 2019, the first 7 teenagers are going to high school in their rural village, and that number is going to keep growing every year as their younger siblings get a head start with computer classes.