Children and teachers at schools in rural Zambia continue to benefit from a project funded by the Halcrow Foundation which installs solar-powered lighting in classrooms and offices.
The project is run by UK charity Lights for Learning, in partnership with the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ). In 2018, Lights for Learning held workshops to train six young men and women from CCZ churches to install solar-powered lighting. The team then travelled to schools in Serenje and Rufunsa to install lights in three schools. This means a total of nine classrooms and three school offices can now be used after daylight hours without having to rely on candles or kerosene lamps.
So far in 2019, the team has travelled to the southern province of Choma to install solar-powered lights in two rural schools, benefitting another six classrooms and three school offices.
CCZ Youth Coordinator Justina Zulu Mutemwa says the project brings people together and inspires great team work. “The teachers in the schools were helping where they could, and this made our work go very well. I recommend that the programme continue because a lot of school children and communities are benefitting.”
This project is having a big impact on rural communities, where children and adults often spend daylight hours working the land around their homes. Solar-powered lighting in classrooms and school offices gives children more time to spend in school, and teachers more time to spend more time marking work and preparing lessons. This gives whole communities better access to education and helps break the cycle of poverty by opening up more opportunities for children in the future.
Also, by training local men and women to install the lights, the project gives them greater employment opportunities. The skills needed to manufacture solar-powered equipment, including lighting systems, mobile phone chargers and borehole pumping systems, can be transferred from the Lights for Learning workshop in the UK to teams in Zambia. This benefits the wider community by improving job prospects and ensures the project’s sustainability.