Agricultural information by and for the people of Kiangwachi, Kenya.
Kiine is a rural primary school in the Central Province of Kenya, to which VeSeL has given a laptop and digital resource kit.
A community-owned radio station in Kambu, southern Kenya
Agricultural information by and for the people of the Kambu community
Silanga is a rural primary school in the Eastern Province of Kenya, to which VeSeL has given a laptop and resource kit.
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.
"I can't wait to send a full report on Silanga," said Vesel member Souleymane Camara in a message sent the day after delivering a Macbook laptop to Silanga School in Kambu. "But for what it is worth, this was a major success. Instead of just three teachers, we had ten of them. Also, two of the teaching staff have a very good ICT skills. This ensures and facilitates knowledge transfer," he said. "They only needed to be introduced to Mac."
"The headteacher and assistant headteacher have been so upbeat about the kit, and have done so well in mobilising the whole school for the event and training. They understood our ideas and expectations."
At the meeting, Peter Mang'ala of Mtito Andei Initiative (MDI) gave an introductory message, and brief information about what MDI is all about. He talked about the MDI origin, its vision, mission, objectives, approach, current development partners and the current board members.
Professor Tim Waema of the University of Nairobi introduced Vesel and its agenda. The issues discussed and agreed on included who would be the system administrators; security of equipment; custodian and proper operation of equipment; when and how training takes place; access to equipment and services; dust prevention; and sustainability of everything.
The following specific issues arose:
The visiting VeSeL researchers brought back some newspapers from Nairobi, which contained some interesting things:
The Sunday Standard on 27 May 2007 had a tech section, in advance of the e-Learning Africa conference in Nairobi that week, along with a paid supplement about the conference. This included a story on the battle between cheap laptops (OLPC and Intel). It did not specify whether either would be available in Kenya, but noted that countries had until 31 May to place orders for 250,000 or more OLPCs at $175 each. Intel claimed to have orders for 'thousands' of 'Classmate' PCs at just over $200 each. Prices of both are expected to fall to below $100.
A separate story reported on Computer Aid International, which has sent over 75,000 PCs to developing countries, half of those to schools. It has provided computers to 36 weather stations in Kenya, to record and analyse data for crop and livestock productivity, and to forecast malaria outbreaks.
Today was dedicated to visiting the first four and closest members to our hotel. Though, I had planned to start as early as 7.30am with an interview with Titus Kisavi, who is enthusiastic about growing Jatropha ("green diesel"), with a quick visit to some Jatropha fields.
I had requested also to be hosted as close as possible to the community. A MDI member offered to be my host. However, due to the fact that Cecilia will be left alone in the hotel as Sylvia and Dr. Nâ€™Gugi returned to Nairobi this afternoon, I only stayed the first night with Titus.