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Educational Support in Southern Ethiopia through providing a solar lighting systems and books for Primary Schools

The project is implemented in agricultural, semi-pastoral and pastoral areas in the south of Ethiopia in the Oromo Region and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. The regions, thus far marginalised in terms of access to electricity, have benefited little from the electric power grid extension plans outlined by Ethiopia’s authorities in the last decade. The geographical location and climatic conditions are conducive to application of solar solutions. High rates of insolation with the potential for twice the electrical power generation as in Poland, along with an average yearly temperature of +16 - +27°C create perfect conditions for the use of this energy source.

In this region of the world, the sun invariably sets at 6:00 p.m. This, along with a lack of artificial light in schools significantly limits the possibility of participation in classes for children who must help their parents in running farms and grazing cattle during the day. In this situation, supplying schools with lighting to enable children to participate in education in the first hours after sunset is of key significance. Using solar energy to illuminate public schools yields noticeable effects very quickly. Considering results of tests verifying reading and writing skills, the students from the centres providing an opportunity to study after dark had done much better.

One of the priorities in the Ethiopian system of education is to increase the number of students completing a full primary education cycle. Implementation of the project improving the conditions and quality of education for children and youths from marginalised rural areas in Southern Ethiopia contributed to the accomplishment of this goal.

Educational Support in Southern Ethiopia through providing a solar lighting systems and books for Primary Schools

The project was carried out from 1 March to 31 December 2016 in the Oromo region and in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region (SNNP). The project was executed by the Polish Center for International Aid in cooperation with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction as the local partner.

The project served the implementation of the thematic priority ‘Human Capital’, set forth in the Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme for 2016-2020. At the same time, a project aimed at achieving one of the goals of the above-mentioned programme as part of geographical priorities for Ethiopia was proposed: “improvement of conditions and quality of education on all levels.”

The general goal of the project was to improve conditions and quality of education in marginalised rural areas in Southern Ethiopia. Under the project, books and solar lighting systems were purchased and installed. Training sessions in library management for teaching staff and parent committee members were also held. The training was supplemented with workshops on basic operation of lighting systems and teaching methods. As a result, the adopted measures have contributed to an increase in the number of students completing a full primary education cycle.

The project assumptions concerning direct beneficiaries in two administrative regions of Ethiopia, Oromo and SNNP, are:

• 100 primary schools to have solar panel installations;

• approx. 30,000 students to have conditions for development of reading and writing skills thanks to a well-illuminated and better equipped school library;

• 200 teaching staff and parent committee members in 2 administrative regions to learn about library management, use of solar energy, and solar panel operation and maintenance;

• 100 primary school teachers to learn about methods of teaching.

Indirect project beneficiaries include children, youths, and adults from nearby villages who also may use the school infrastructure (depending on the region, the number ranges from several hundred to over one thousand students). Illuminated schools also benefit entire local communities: for tens of thousands of people, an illuminated school is the only place where they can freely use lighting other than battery-powered torches or candles.

Educational Support in Southern Ethiopia through providing a solar lighting systems and books for Primary Schools

  • 103 primary schools have 2 illuminated rooms;
  • 103 school libraries have been set up or re-supplied;
  • 187 teaching staff and parent committee members as well as 141 teachers from the areas covered by the project received training;
  • 187 training and educational sets in effective teaching methods and basic lighting system operation have been published;
  • the quality of infrastructure was improved in 103 primary schools located in 2 South Ethiopian regions (Oromo and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’) previously without access to electricity;
  • conducting supplementary evening classes for youths and adults was made possible in 103 primary schools without access to electricity;
  • thanks to illuminated and better equipped school libraries, more than 35,000 primary school students gained conditions facilitating development of reading and writing skills;
  • 187 teaching staff and parent committee members raised their qualifications in library management and solar panel operation and 141 teachers learned about methods of teaching.