Free Solar Energy and Computer Labs Establishment in Schools in Remote Towns

For the past few years, Kaalo Nederland has been working hard to make sure that students in the remote towns in Puntland receive free solar energy and computer labs. To achieve this, Kaalo Nederland created a subsequent number of projects that supplied schools and community centers with that equipment. Since 2021, Kaalo Nederland has established solar energy systems that give electricity power to schools and community centers and computer labs that schools use to teach students practical computer skills. So far, 9 schools and community centers have benefitted from this program. In this piece of writing, we will share the stories of five of those schools that Kaalo Nederland has recently visited.

In April 2023, Kaalo Nedeland sent a team of its stuff to monitor and evaluate how the people who received the solar energy and computers equipment are utilizing those tools. The team visited all the 9 schools and community centers that benefitted from the two projects that Kaalo Nederland implemented since 2021.

  • Dangorayo Secondary School

Dangorayo is small district that is 108 KM to the east of Garowe city. It was one of the four schools that benefitted from the first phase of the solar energy and computer laboratory establishment. In 2021, Dangorayo Seconday School received a full set of solar energy containing 10 solar panels, 8 batteries and their inverter. They have also a fully-equipped computer lab. After a year and half that they have been using this equipment, a lot has changed. During our visit to the school this is how the school principal described the situation:

The equipment we received has helped us a lot. It has covered many needs that we had been struggling with for a long time. Before the solar energy, the school had no electricity at all due to the distance between the school and the rest of the town. Since we have received the free electricity that solar provides us with, the situation has really changed. Students come to school at night for revision and tutorial classes. Teachers can use a projector to facilitate their teaching. The computer lab is also a major benefit for the students. Before, we used to teach ICT lessons theoretically. That has also changed and we have a fully-functional computer lab.”

  • Budunbuto Primary School

Budunbuto is small village that locates at the far south-eastern part of Nugaal Region of Somalia. Despite the size of the town, there is a functioning primary school with a few hundreds of students. Similar to Dangorayo, Budunbuto is one of the schools that benefitted from the first phase of the project. They received the same equipment as Dangorayo. When Kaalo Nederland’s team visited Budunbuto, the school was making a farewell ceremony for its first batch to complete primary school. In Budunbuto, the solar energy helps both the school and the MCH of the town. This is their feedback about how they got advantage of the solar energy and computer labs:

My name is Jama Hirsi Isse and I am the principal of Budnbuto Primary School. I would like to thank Kaalo Nederland and their partners for helping us with the solar energy and computer labs. Because of this solar energy, the children come back to school at night to read and study for their exams. The solar energy also helps us financially. Since the whole town of Budunbuto has no electricity, the school bought fridges to make ice and popsicles. We sell the ice to the people of the village and the popsicles to the children of the school and this became a source of income for the school. On behalf of the people of Budunbuto and the school, I would like to also thank Kaalo Nederland and their partners for the computer lab.”

  • Daawad Primary School – Eyl

Eyl is one of the oldest towns in Puntland. It is a coastal town that lies at the cost of the Indian ocean and it is a distance of 221 KM from the city of Garowe. Daawad Primary school is one of the education centers in the town and it was among the beneficiaries of the second phase of the solar energy and computer labs projects. The school has received a full set of solar energy containing 10 solar panels, eight batteries and an inverter. Similar to the other schools we mentioned above, a computer lab was also established for this school. This town has electricity, but it is both very expensive and unreliable. There has been a great change in the school’s ways of teaching and learning since the establishment of the solar energy and the computer lab. This is the story the ICT teacher of the school told Kaalo Nederland’s team:

As an ICT teacher, this project has helped me and my students very much. I used to struggle with explaining the concepts of the computer hardware components and how software programs are used to the students. We neither had computers nor good electricity. After this computer lab and the free solar energy were established, it is very easy for me to teach the computer concepts I struggled with practically. Before the computer lab, I used to write the lesson on the board and explain it theoretically with no practical at all. The students have also greatly benefitted from the solar energy. Not only our students, but students from other schools come to this school at night for studying and revising their lessons. This project has been helpful to us beyond words.”

  • (Uuskure Primary and Secondary School

Uuskure is a small village in the Nugaal region of Somalia. It is a hundred KM from Dangorayo to east. Uuskure was one of the towns that received the second batch of the solar energy and computer equipment. Although it is densely inhabited, the town locates in a remote area with no main roads or big cities nearby. This made services like electricity rare commodities to find. The town had a school for more than ten years, but the school did not have any electricity all those years. Similar to the other schools, they got both solar energy and computer. Here is the story the principal of the school talked about how they benefitted from the solar energy and computer lab:

There is a very big difference before and after receiving the solar energy. Before the solar energy, we had difficulty with printing; we had difficulty with buying and hauling fuel for the school generator. Sometimes, the generator stopped functioning and we had no technician to fix it. Repairing the generator and buying fuel for it used to cost us a lot of money. The least of the problems we had with the generator was how it stained our clothes whenever we tried to refill it with fuel or start it. The functioned only at the day time. That how our school was before the solar energy. After receiving the solar energy, all of those problems disappeared. We don’t have to use a generator and the students can come back to school at night for revision and remedial lessons. The computer lab has also contributed a lot to the school’s development. Most of our students have never seen a computer let alone use it. But today, all the upper primary and secondary school students use computers to practice their ICT lessons. This project transformed the situation of our school and we are very grateful.”

  • Sinujiif Primary and Secondary School

Among the towns that received the solar energy and computer lab equipment, Sinujiif is the closest to the city of Garowe. It is a distance of 58 KM to east from Garowe and it lies between Garowe and Dangorayo. Sinujiif has a school that has all the grades of the primary and secondary classes (Grade 1 – Grade 12). This school which a wide compound that accommodates both the primary and the secondary classrooms has received the same equipment as the other schools, i.e., ten solar panels, eight batterie for the solar, an inverter and a computer lab. Unlike some of the other schools like Budunbuto, Uuskure and Dangorayo, the school in Sinujiif had access to electricity. However, this electricity came with the problems expensiveness and unreliability. Here is their story:

As you may already know, the school had access to electricity since it is not separated from the rest of the town. Nevertheless, it was very costly to an extend the school could not afford they had to cut it off sometimes. It was also unreliable. It would go off in the middle of a print or a lesson. Now that we have a free and reliable solar energy, we don’t have to worry about electricity cost anymore. Our students have access to computer labs too which helps them in a great deal. The equipment has helped us a lot and we thank Kaalo Nederland and their partners for supporting us with it.”

This shows that the schools needed this equipment and many other schools still do. There hundreds of schools in remote towns like the ones that benefitted from the first two phases of the project. There tens of thousands of young children who do not have access to enough electricity and computer labs. Kaalo Nederland will be working in this field to make sure many children in remote villages and towns get solar energy and computer lab access.

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