Building Computer Labs in Western Africa

Back in 2014, Helen covered the story of Dominique Laloux and the first Raspberry Pi computer room in Togo, West Africa.

Having previously worked alongside friends to set up the Kuma Computer Center, Dominique and the team moved on to build another computer room in Kuma Adamé.

Both builds were successful, proving the need for such resources within an area where, prior to 2012, 75% of teachers had never used a computer.

Dominique has since been back in contact via our forum; he informed us of another successful build, again in Togo, converting an old toilet block into a Raspberry Pi computer lab.

Togo RPi Lab

The blank canvas…

The team had their work cut out, stripping the building of its inner walls, laying down a new concrete floor, and installing windows. 

Togo RPi

Some serious climbing was needed…

Electricity and LAN were installed next, followed by welded tables and, eventually, the equipment.

Togo RPi

Local teachers and students helped to set up the room

The room was finally kitted out with 21 Raspberry Pis. This would allow for one computer per student, up to a maximum of 20, as well as one for the teacher’s desk, which would power an LED projector.

The room also houses a laptop with a scanner, and a networked printer.

The project took four weeks to complete, and ended with a two-week training session for 25 teachers. 

Togo RPi

Forget the summer holidays: each teacher showed up every day

Dominique believes very strongly in the project, and in the positive influence it has had on the area. He writes:

I am now convinced that the model of Raspberry Pi computer labs is an ideal solution to bring ICT to small schools in developing countries, where resources are scarce.

Not only is he continuing to raise funds to build more labs, he’s also advising other towns who want to build their own. Speaking of the growth of awareness over the past year, he explained, “I was so happy to advise another community 500 km away on how to install their own microcomputer room, based on the same model.”

And his future plans?

My goal is now to raise enough funds to set up one computer room in a school each year for the foreseeable future, hoping that other communities will want to copy the model and build their own at the same time.

We love seeing the progress Dominique and his team have made as they continue to build these important labs for communities in developing countries. Dominique’s hard work and determination is inspiring, and we look forward to seeing the students he and his team have helped to nurture continue to learn.

Togo RPi

6 comments

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And this is why affordable computing is so important, way to go Raspberry Pi, I wonder if there running Android Nugard LOL

Free download here BTW
https://wiltronics.com.au/product/10084/raspberry-pi-3-model-b-android-nougat-bundle/

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Great stuff – does Domenique and team have fund raising website that you could share ? I feel the need to bung them a fiver for such a great project ! Oh and talking about Pi’ in Africa : check out this story on BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37234444) – if I’m not mistaken that’s a Pi on the desk in front of Mark Zuckerburg and the kids (he’s in a school in Nigeria)

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This is amazing work!

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Back in the 1990s, ‘Geeks in Africa’ went Africa to provide computers and infrastructure to several nations there using *cough! cough!* PCs. (Note: Not just in Western Africa but in Central Africa and other areas on the continent, including Madagascar.) Each school had a solar power and back up generator and a small microwave relay to connect their computers to the Internet as the next city with a wired network was… many of dozens of miles away. For the first 6 months things went well.

But as History would show, some of nations there fell into civil war, and though their job was not completed, the ‘Geeks’ continued with their work until they were chased out by various warlords in the area. Then the Warlords took down the schools’ computer and internet connections and took it for themselves. ‘Geeks in Africa’ went home to the USA, declaring their work a partial success because of those areas not affected by the civil wars were finally online and teaching students.

History is in deed interesting, to say the least. I’m glad that somebody out there is continuing to close up international digital divide. Keep up the good work.

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Great work guys! We’ve done something similar. And it is so exciting to see other doing the same!

http://projectpi.org.uk/project-pi-take-five-raspberry-pi-computers-to-kasupe-primary-school-in-malawi-2/

:)

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Than you for what you are doing for African poor people .
I am American Togolese living in Tennessee , USA . I am a US Army Retired Disabled Veteran , a High School French Teacher , and President/Founder of Dagan Foundation. I helping disadvantaged children and adult for their education in Togo establishing schools and promoting education . We need financial assistance in order to build schools building , libraries , computer labs , water wells , latrines , and so on. Could anybody or organization help us ? I will appreciate it .
Thank you.
http://www.daganfoundation.org

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