Friday, 29 August 2014

Powering Potential - bringing computers to rural off grid schools

An amazing use of Raspberry Pi's...

Today I met an amazing young man called Albin who is the country director for Powering Potential a charity setting up solar powered computer labs in rural, off grid schools.

We visited Welwel secondary school, one of ten schools they have set up in and around Karatu, close to Ngorogoro crater in Tanzania.

Because the capacity of solar panels is not sufficient to power many standard desktop pcs they are running a system based on Raspberry Pi computers, with locally bought keyboards and monitors - meaning one station uses about 10 watts, compared to between 60 and 300W for a normal desktop machine.

The cost of internet access is prohibitive for most schools so they have installed offline Wikipedia and Khan Academy videos and other educational content called RACHEL from World Possible.  They even supply low wattage battery powered projectors with rechargeable speakers so a whole class at once can watch.

Recently Powering Potential have completed three more school installations, all of which include three weeks training delivered by their locally trained technicians.  These remote local communities have to demonstrate commitment to the project by building a suitable room, providing transport for the equipment and accommodation for the trainers during the training.  

A remarkable achievement - no wonder President Kikwete recently expressed an interest in a role out to the 80% of Tanzanian schools; who are not yet connected to the grid...


  1. I have wondered for a while how raspberry pis could be used In tz! More power to their elbows!

  2. Hi. I'm interested you have seen the raspberry Pi computers in action. Lots to talk about here!! Please greet Rhobi for me and have a great visit to Marra.

  3. Thanks for this Janet. Would you be interested in sharing it with GlobalNet21 and Africa group when you are back - either in London meeting or webinar?