Devastated by 27 years of civil war which wiped out at least 90% of its infrastructure, and ruined by decades of financial mismanagement that saw the ruling MPLA elite steal massive amounts of oil and diamond dollars, Angola is one of the continent’s poorest countries despite its status of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
While basic necessities such as safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and access to basic education and healthcare are nowhere to be seen, electricity is a luxury that only the well-off can afford.
Recently, Samsung Electronics heard the cries of Angola’s schoolchildren and came to their rescue. The global electronics giant has delivered one container, the first of what could be a number of Solar Powered Internet Schools based in containers in the country.
The project is being made possible in association with the Angolan government and other partners.
The Solar Powered Internet School, which is geared to provide access to the Internet and electronic textbooks, will operate on a shift basis and will meet the needs of 200 children a day, according to Thierry Boulanger, IT director for solutions and business to business in Africa at Samsung Electronics.
“This school represents a breakthrough in the delivery of education by helping to break down the technological barriers facing education in Angola,” Boulanger said.
The facility, housed in a ‘40-foot’ shipping container, was delivered by truck to its site, he said.
Samsung said the school, which will be used on a rotational basis by children during the day, operates between 08h00 and 17h00 every day. Boulanger said: “It may be a small beginning, but for the 200 children who will benefit, the school opens the door to huge opportunities. Finding the funding to create hundreds of similar facilities across Africa could, within a comparatively short period, transform education, quality of life and service delivery across Africa.”
Samsung also said the school has the capacity to operate effectively for up to 36 hours without any sunlight at all. “The power generated by the panels each day also means that the school can be used beyond the traditional learning day. After-hours it can operate as an adult education centre or a community centre over weekends.”
Built to withstand harsh African conditions the solar panels powering the school are made from rubber instead of glass, to ensure that they are hardy and durable enough to survive long journeys across the continent, Boulanger concluded.
*Photo: schoolchildren learning inside a Samsung solar powered internet school;