This is your readership post of our just concluded Raspberry Pi training trip to Baringo County. As an introduction, Raspberry Pi is a Low Cost-Low power Computer system that our Organization is determined to provide as we seek to introduce e-learning within schools in remote areas especially those in nomadic regions. The system carries with it educational content from World Possible called RACHEL, short for Remote Areas Community Hotspots for Education and Learning, that enables provision of free education to individuals in parts of the world with limited or no internet access. It’s an academic platform that enable students to conduct personal studies and further research. The system is simplified and it contains over 3000 books, 2000 Videos and educative research papers. We believe that the introduction of this e-Library shall spearhead the way for the Digitalization of Education in Kenya and furthermore compliment the traditional teaching method and curriculum that is currently in use in Kenya. Hifadhi Africa therefore intent to establish e-Learning Centers at 4 Primary schools near Nginyang Trading Center, Barpello High School and Eldama Ravine Girls High School. There are virtually no computers in East Pokot because of the lack of computer and basic infrastructure. Clubs in Rotary District 5040 in Canada recently have pioneered a computer system using a Raspberry Pi and data downloaded on a thumb drive from an organization called World Possible. The total cost of the Raspberry Pi system is around $150 with 1 monitor. Coupled with a thumb drive and up to 20 monitors, a computer center can be established in places that do not have internet access or electricity. The system can be powered by solar cells. It is anticipated that these systems will result in a life altering renaissance in learning in this remote region.
Our long and exciting journey from Nairobi started on 11th Sept, 2014. In the group was Max Musau who is HAO IT Consultant, Charles Mwakio who is our Communications Director and Collins Nakedi representing Administration Department.
Our first stop was in Nakuru where the team had lunch did some shopping before embarking on the longest part of the trip. We arrived at Nginyang Trading Centre where we spent the night at around 10p.m. It’s important to state that the system is new in Kenya and Africa at large, this made expectation and anxiety creep in every Kilometer we made towards our destiny with our trainees despite the fact that we had spent unthinkable time training and researching on the system.
Our first date was with Nginyang D.E.B Mixed Nomadic Boarding Primary School on Friday 12th Sept, 2014 at 10:00a.m. We had warm reception from the school Head Teacher Mr. Francis Merinyang at his office to whom he became our first trainee.
Our team later conducted training to two volunteering teachers whom they were tasked with the responsibility of supporting the success of the project and enabling both students and teacher maximize on the availability of portable online Library to increase individual and school performances. As an NGO, our interest, in partnership with these schools is to capitalize on the curiosity and the eagerness of a pupil, when given a tablet for the first time as a motivator to study. Rachel Pi also encourages student-centred learning. Availability of audios and videos shall improve English and pronunciation while videos Research on teaching and learning shows that learners remember:
– 10% of what we read
– 20% of what we hear
– 30% of what we see
– 50% of what we both see and hear
– 70% of what we have discussed with others
– 80% of what we have experienced personally
– 95% of what we teach someone else
Among the challenges we experience is the lack of basic facilities in the school like water tanks for water storage, beds and boarding room. It was shocking to learn that boys were sleeping in room designated for staff due to lack of facility. More shocking was that there were only FOUR beds when we visited girls’ boarding compared to 47 boarders. Most of the girls were sleeping on the floor. It was appalling.
We then proceeded to Cheptunoyo Primary School. And then Cheseret Primary School. Being that Nginyang Primary School is supposedly the most established institution in the District, and taking into consideration the many challenges we just witnessed, we very much knew what was awaiting us. There are 300 pupils and 5 teachers at Cheptunoyo Primary while teachers track by foot from Chemolingot to teach lessons at Cheseret Primary (a distance of 8KM) and back by foot in the evening-everyday. On this particular day, they boarded our Car.
We ended the day in Chemolingot Trading Centre. Given that the Car we were driving couldn’t maneuver the Terrain to our next destination which is Barpello, we had courtesy extended to us by Barpello High School Principal Mr. Naduma. The school was started in 2007 under the sponsorship of Catholic Church. There are 481 students and 22 teachers. With the new Library construction about to be completed, father David, to whom the school management is under his stewardship agreed on the potential of the Rachel-Pi system to entirely impact education in the school. He agreed to make the Library an e-learning centre by equipping it with Desktop screens to enable students and teachers conduct online studies and research. Hifadhi Africa shall then install Raspberry Pi to provide the needed Wi-Fi and e-Library content from Rachel-Pi.
Next was demonstrating to all the teachers. The project was lauded in supporting lesson preparation and providing more content in classroom. Some teachers proposed to have their own tablets with access to Rachel-Pi to help them with lesson preparation at their comfort homes.
We then traveled back to Chemolingot.
Our next destination was Eldama Ravine town via Nginyang, Marigat and Emining. We spent the night here and conducted our last training the following day at Eldama Ravine Girls High School on Sunday 14th. After a successful training, we headed to Nairobi via Nakuru.
In conclusion, the mission was a success and it opens avenues for us to strengthen relationship with school administrations in the County. It also highlighted the start of a revolutionary project that has the potential to jumpstart students from nomadic schools into the same creativity level that is being enjoyed by their urban and privileged colleagues. After the deployment of the project, it will be interesting to note its impact on academic performances in the region. We believe in it.