[OLPC-SF] Haiti OLPC Solar charging Project Update (Illinois Tech Team Visits Haiti to Re-Energize Schools Following Earthquake)

Bruce Baikie bruce at green-wifi.org
Fri Feb 18 14:02:00 EST 2011


*/Illinois Tech Team Visits Haiti to Re-Energize Schools Following 

/Chicago, IL -- February 17, 2011/On January 3^rd , 2011 four students 
and one professor from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 
Chicago traveled to the earthquake devastated-nation of Haiti in order 
to assess several schools for the potential installation of a solar PV 
solution. The village of Lascahobas had lost grid-provided electricity 
following the earthquake a year ago, and there is as-yet no prospect for 
the grid power to be restored. This is regrettable given that the local 
schools had recently received OLPC XOs with the aim of improving the 
quality of education. The schools no longer have a way to charge the XO 
laptops. The IIT team's goal is to design an affordable, sustainable, 
and replicable solar charging system for the schools' laptops. The first 
deployment will enable 1,000 students to use their XO laptops once again.

  The team's site visit document and report can be download here:IIT 
Haiti OLPC School Site Visit Report 

The IIT project: Developing Technology to Transform Education in Haiti, 
is being led by Dr. Laura Hosman and consists of an inter-disciplinary 
team of ten students who are all interested in advancing the educational 
opportunities of Haitian students. Bruce Baikie, ICT4D solar expert, 
accompanied the group and is serving as the team's solar powering mentor.

Ultimately, over 11,000 XO laptops are slated to be distributed to 
Haitian primary-level students across the country, but the vast majority 
of schools and homes have no access to reliable power through which to 
charge them. The short-term goal of the IIT project is to (re-)enable 
charging of the laptops in the Lascahobas schools, while the longer-term 
objective is to design a cost-effective replicable solar solution that 
can be used at schools across Haiti.

The project-based class at IIT began in the fall of 2010 with the goal 
of designing an economical solar PV laptop-charging design in 
conjunction with the Haitian Ministry of Education. At the end of the 
semester, in January, the team carried out a site survey visit to 
potential schools in Lascahobas, in order to understand structural, 
physical, and social constraints for its implementation. During their 
visit, the group collected technical data needed to design the system 
for the schools, and conversed with school officials about the project 
in order to gauge the level of interest and commitment. Local school 
administrators expressed their enthusiasm at the prospect of gaining 
solar power for their schools and the students' laptops, and promised 
active participation in the project.

The IIT students also are partnering with engineering students from the 
State University in Haiti (whose own school was partially destroyed in 
the earthquake), to develop content in French and Creole for the 
primary-level students to use on their laptops. The team was also able 
to meet with the Haitian Ministry of Education's Director of Primary 
Education in Port-au-Prince, who was very positive about the team's 
plans, and acknowledged the great need for this type of partnering and 
capacity-building education project in Haiti.

With the data gathered on the trip, the IIT team is refining their 
design, which is to be implemented at two primary schools in Lascahobas 
in May, 2011. The group is raising money to fund the project---the 
implementation at each school is estimated to cost approximately 
ten-thousand US dollars and will directly support 1,000 Haitian 
students. For more information on this project and to donate please 
visit: http://iitempoweringhaiti.org/

Dr. Laura Hosman
lhosman1 at iit.edu <mailto:lhosman1 at iit.edu>
Illinois Institute of Technology
3301 Dearborn St
Chicago IL 60616


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