Education is a necessary ingredient for success. But not everyone gets the opportunity to learn, because facilities are not readily available in their remote communities. This is made more acute by technology: today’s student should have the opportunity to learn with the latest systems at their disposal. But the combination of sophistication, cost and energy demands again keeps that away from many potential pupils.
This has inspired the DELL Solar Learning Labs initiative, which already benefits nearly 7,500 students – a number set to cross 10,000 in 2018. But the impact goes beyond that: while students use the facilities during school hours, the larger community also has access after hours to access the computers. Fully connected, they use these to learn more on their own time, search for work and even find recipes for that evening’s meal! The goal is to deliver sustainable and affordable connectivity to underserved communities and schools.
Such access to technology and learning new skills boosts self-confidence, bringing quality of life and job opportunities into communities who need them the most. Established first in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014, the Solar Learning Labs are made possible by DELL’s Youth Learning program, and are being implemented in 5 other countries: South Africa, Kenya, Columbia, and now Morocco.
Committed to driving human progress by putting technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and for the planet, DELL has entered into long-term partnerships with the non-profit organisations Bayti, SOS Villages, and Computer Aid international, as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Their collaboration has created the Chemsi Solar Learning Labs, a solar-powered and entirely mobile technology and education facility. The Chemsi program addresses key demographics with three different levels of certified training: basic IT for youth populations to discover technology, advanced coding for students who want to learn more, and career-specific training for those seeking employment opportunities.
The Solar Learning Labs are marvels of technology and unlike anything built for this purpose before. Each lab is built inside a converted shipping container, using solar panels to power the ten Wyse thin client workstations inside. Each uses only 4% of the power consumption of a traditional PC and the systems are remotely monitored and administered by project staff.
Many other projects have attempted to bring technology and education to distant communities, but often don’t do much more than deliver a few computers. The Solar Learning Labs are different: an entire solution that is continuously evaluated to make sure it meets the community’s requirements. DELL supplies the technical support, while its partners Bayti, SOS Villages and the Ministry of Youth and Sports ensure that the Labs will reach underserved populations that can most benefit from the Chemsi program.
The mobile Solar Learning Lab will travel to 9 different locations over a 2-month period, bringing the latest in technology and education to various communities. Every step in the journey marks a new chapter for many people, opening doors to education, technology, and the future.