Connecting a school in Malawi increases both students' and teachers' opportunity to accelerate their learning potential, as they will have access to online resources.
Project status: Closed
Malawi is one of the poorest countries on the planet and they also have an extremely low rate of internet connectivity in which only about 25% of the population have access to the internet.
unconnected.org is working with a number of partners to make material changes to that, starting with a pilot at Lusako Primary School in the Mwahimba Village, Traditional Authority Kyungu, Karonga, Malawi. The school has 1,300 students and 21 teachers. The plan is to introduce a number of learning applications, Malawi Learnership Program MLP, Ubongo, Khan Academy and other open source materials in addition to general exposure to technology and online access for the students to accelerate their learning potential. The school will have a mini server for offline content access in synchronization with cloud servers through VSAT technology. The internet will also provide all interested partners online access to the school to provide training or share different experiences.
The project is self-sustainable through the Community Sponsored Digitalization CSD model. The villages around the school will own the digital project and the village leaders through the digital committee will mobilize and manage the funds to sustain the project which will secure its operational use past the initial pilot phase.
The project in Malawi went extremely smoothly, unconnected.org achieved their goal of connecting the school almost on time and on budget. The project was kicked off on June 1, 2023, and was completed on August 23, 2023. The School pupils went back to school on the 4th of September and the computer lab went fully active on this date. This is the initial phase, and there will be a continual evaluation of the impact of this project. These impact measurements will initially focus on the school pupils but over time will extend to the surrounding community and the impact experienced there.
There are 1,459 pupils at the school (711 boys and 748 girls) aged 6 – 15 years old and they are now having their first experiences of using the internet and computers. So far the students are being trained MS office, becoming familiar with creating word documents, excel spreadsheets, setting up email accounts and using google to safely explore the web.
We have published a blog about this project! Read it here!
Malawi is an extremely poor country and very under-resourced. To purchase some of the components, unconnected.org had to go to South Africa as Malawi has virtually no currency reserves. This was challenging, also since they needed to pay money to both Malawi and South Africa. To secure the computer lab at the school they put metal security bars on the windows and put in place a secure storage for router and printer and that took longer than expected. The voucher system to sell the connectivity also took longer than expected but is now operational.
The unconnected.org works on connecting students, refugees, women, and underserved communities. Their mission is to connect 100 million people to the internet.
Visit their website here to learn more about them.