Link Community Development
Link Community Development’s mission is, through innovative approaches and projects, to promote access to quality education. Solar Connect is an example of this delivering solar panels and sustainable electricity to schools in remote areas of Africa. This allows the school to run an internet compatible laptop which facilitates connections with the global community and significantly reduces administration time for teachers, who would otherwise have to travel to district offices. To date Solar Connect has been installed in 31 schools across Malawi, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda.
Triple Bottom Line Benefits
installing solar panels in these remote locations enables schools to tap into a renewable source of electricity. Teachers are trained to understand climate change and sustainability, and pass these messages on to pupils and communities alike. The use of alternative energy sources in rural sub-Saharan African communities, vulnerable to the effects of climate change, reduces green house gas emissions and raises awareness of sustainable energy as a means of rural electrification.
Reducing the time required for teachers to perform administrative duties, allows them to focus more time on teaching children. Providing access to the global community allows for improved educational materials, and opens up the potential to form sustainable school partnerships.
The school can also offer its solar power facilities to charge batteries and mobile phones. This service can be used to generate enough income to contribute to running costs and make Solar Connect a sustainable solution to support community and school development.
A good investment
Solar Connect funds the upfront costs of purchasing and installing the solar and computer equipment as well as the necessary security measures to keep the equipment safe. There are provisions for local community engagement meetings to ensure the sustainability of the project and each school is provided with a monthly internet allowance.
5% of donations support the local Link staff to provide training in solar energy and climate change, as well as the use of the computer software, the internet and email. Local staff are able to continue to provide ongoing technical support where necessary, ensuring that the money invested has a long lasting impact.
5% of donations are pooled to support district wide school development to ensure schools in the surrounding area also receive our support.
And only 5% of donations are used for admin and further fundraising, meaning 85% goes directly towards the project.
“Ntata zone is very hilly and remote. It has rough roads and bridges which are difficult to cross in the rainy season... Teachers will improve because they will have IT skills and they will move with the world. They will share ideas with each other and with people outside using the internet.”
Stadwick Paliyani, Primary Education Advisor for Ntata Zone, Malawi