By: Bernard Rono for unhcr.org
Dadaab, Kenya – Susan James is working on a document. Close by, Abdifatah is adding up figures on a spreadsheet, while Ikrah sketches a house on a notepad. Welcome to Friends Primary School in Ifo, Dadaab Refugee Camp. This is where students learn computer skills.
With electricity in short supply, the prospect of learners embracing information technology is difficult, if not impossible. But thanks to the Italian energy and gas company ENI, headquartered in Rome, the school now has solar panels. The panels provide lighting in classrooms and power the computers.
Through AVSI, an international Non-Governmental Organization operating in Dadaab, the Ministry of Energy and the County Government of Garissa where Dadaaab is located, Eni has installed solar lighting in 11 schools. As part of this Public Private Partnership, Friends Primary School received 10 desktop computers too.
The solar power project was conceived after a lecture to the children of Dadaab, as part of the Vodafone Foundation’s Instant Network Schools, by the CEO Claudio Descalzi. Access to renewable energy and a crossover tool to support education was identified as one of the priorities in the camps.
‘Learners are now very motivated to come to school and this in turn has led to improved performance and results. Before the solar project, the school was ranked second last out of 18 schools, but the recent performance placed us at position 4,’ says Mr. Atem Pete, the Headmaster of Friends Primary School.
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