Mobile Solar Classrooms in Uganda help bridge the digital divide

In schools across Uganda, children are learning new computer skills in a digital literacy curriculum that is brought to learners through pop-up Mobile Solar Computer Classrooms. The project helps to bridge the digital divide in Africa by making computer skills accessible, affordable, and relevant to rural schools and community libraries. It also raises awareness of the power of solar technology to provide solutions in areas that don’t have regular access to electricity and provides a low-carbon, mobile alternative to fixed computer labs.

Mobile Solar Classroom in Uganda

The Maendeleo Foundation, a Ugandan non-profit organisation, owns and implements the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom project, which it first piloted in 2008.

Mobile School uganda

It uses solar-powered computers which are stored in SUV vehicles that have been modified with solar panels and a transportable classroom for learning – equipped with laptops, an internet router, a tent, tables and chairs.

MobileSolarComputerClassroomSetupTwo Mobile Solar Computer Classrooms are operational in Uganda and can each provide training to 20 learners at a time with a capacity for training 200 people a day. They offer a digital literacy curriculum to students over a 2 year period. Our vision for expansion is to add at least one upgraded Mobile Solar Computer Classroom that reaches 10 schools, 300 community members and 200 teachers every year.

Over 5000 students, 100 teachers and 500 community members have been involved in computer skills training each year.  The project currently operates in 10 schools in the Mukono District of Uganda and works in partnership with community and public libraries in Buikwe, Arua and Wakiso Districts. The project would like to expand its operation by adding another upgraded Mobile Solar Computer Classroom that reaches 10 schools, 300 community members and 200 teachers every year.

Asia Kamukama, Maendeleo Foundation’s Executive Director says: “The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom has given me an opportunity to take skills to marginalised groups and feed people’s  enormous hunger for skills and information. It’s always overwhelming to watch the excitement and joy that fills trainees in rural Uganda as they unbelievably touch the computer for the very first time.”

Tech training in Uganda schools

The Mobile Solar Computer Classrooms initiative is a solution for schools in areas that don’t have access to electricity or computers and to help equip youth with the necessary skills for the growing number of technology-based jobs. This model has the potential to be scaled and replicated in communities and schools around Uganda and globally. The Maendeleo Foundation is committed to helping build a productive computer services industry in East Africa, connecting people and information using the latest Internet technologies, and thereby increasing personal incomes and boosting the local economy.

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