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Green WiFi, a nonprofit organization based in California, uses solar power to create WiFi to help fix the gap between the digitally literate and people who do not have access to digital educational materials. Formed in 2010, the organization has successfully helped many people living in poverty gain control of their education and advance toward the digital world.

There are about three billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations, which amounts to 42 percent of the world’s population living in developing nations. Green WiFi was created on the idea that the welfare of our future is dependent on providing these children with access to the internet, or, in other words, access to the world’s information.

The organization challenges the high costs of supplying people with WiFi by relying on natural energy. Combining low-cost components, solar power technologies, Java and open-source software, Green WiFi has been able to create a WiFi grid network that is self-sustaining and easy to set up. The biggest issue with deploying free WiFi in developing nations has been electricity, an obstacle that the organization overcomes with solar energy. Green WiFi requires no power or system integrations.

To create a solar powered WiFi grid, Green WiFi puts together a 10-watt solar power grid, router, solar charge controller and communication links, plus a solar gel battery for each grid.

Green WiFi has completed global projects in Haiti, Hawaii, Senegal and multiple regions in Latin America. The organization is formed entirely by volunteers, including CEO and founder Bruce Baikie, vice president of engineering Parag Mody and a group of advisors who come together to help increase education around the world. Along with providing impoverished communities with WiFi, these volunteers also work toward providing them with computers and other technology.

In 2011, Green WiFi worked together with a group of students from the Illinois Institute of Technology to provide children in Haiti with WiFi and computers. They were able to successfully get 500 laptops up and running at a school in Lascahobas, Haiti.

Green Wi-Fi also participates with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a collaboration project involving the UN and Massachusetts Institute of Technology that is dedicated to raising money and providing affordable computer technologies to those in need. It works by providing children with low-cost, low-powered and rugged connected laptops. These laptops are designed by members of OLPC with the hopes of giving children the power to enhance their education in a joyful and self-empowered way. Another initiative Green WiFi collaborates with is Intel’s World Ahead Program. Similar to OLPC, this program works to donate computers to developing regions.

An article in the Chicago Tribune details the need for WiFi and computers in developing nations. Green WiFi is currently tackling that need and is working on projects in Africa and Latin America.

– Julia Hettiger

Sources: Chicago Tribune, One Laptop per Child, Green WiFi
Photo: Facts and Details