The University of Nairobi visited Kambu on 31 July. The area has been hard hit by drought and famine, with the result that some students are forced to drop out of school, and people are concerned mainly with obtaining their next meal.
Prof. Waema donated a flash disk for transferring data to Silanga School. The school had also run out of credit for mobile internet access, and Prof. Waema donated Ksh 1000 for this purpose; the next payment will come from the school board.
No soil measurements have been done using the VeSeL soil sensor due to lack of rain - the soil is so dry there was concern that the soil sensor could not be inserted for fear of breakage.
Some teachers have been using the computer for preparing teaching materials and marking, as can be seen in recent postings on the school's blog. Prof. Waema suggested more training, including in Powerpoint.
Farmer group the Mtito Andei Initiative (MDI) will explore various sustainability plans, including charging to cover events with the digital camera and providing photocopying services.
An online donations mechanism has been set up for Silanga School in Kambu, through the Institute of Education. Donors can go to this link and select The VeSeL Project.
See for yourself at the school's web site. They have been blogging regularly, uploading photos, stories and reports of daily life at the school and in the community.
The VeSeL resource kit consists of a Macbook laptop, powered by a solar power kit which is described here. Network connectivity is achieved with a USB modem which connects to the Internet via the mobile phone network. The VeSeL project funded connection charges for one year while working with the community to find the best sustainability models; providing Internet access can be a profitable local business in rural areas. We have also provided digital cameras and MP3 player/recorders.
Having the laptop and modem as a connectivity hub, our next phase aims to link mobile phones for obtaining and sharing data, and a simple sensor network for monitoring crop growth.