Solar TabletsMozambique, a country of more than 30 million people, is stepping up to conquer the digital division they face from the rest of the world through the use of solar tablets.

Mozambique, a primarily rural country, faces a vast digital divide from the rest of the world. In fact, nearly 65% of the country consists of rural communities. That is to say, within these areas, poverty rates are high and resources for education are low. However, one Mozambican man is here to bridge the digital and educational gaps with solar tablets.

Community Tablet

In response to his country’s digital deficit, Dayn Amade, a father and entrepreneur, created a solution to the problem. Thus he began Community Tablet, the first Mozambican digital school powered by solar tablets.

These solar tablets are an innovative collaboration of community awareness and emerging technology. Pulled by trucks or donkeys, the four to six solar-powered LCD screens can travel just about anywhere throughout Mozambique. Each screen is an interactive smart board connected to cameras and one larger community screen, allowing all to play and watch. The tablet connects to the internet through satellite and the Global System for Mobile Communications. Whatsmore, inside the base, a cold chain chamber provides a fridge for storing and transporting items such as vaccines. This compartment plays a vital role in Amade’s education as he can distribute medicines after educating communities about the need for them.

Amade’s inspiration came from seeing his children’s eagerness towards and success learning on their tablets. Additionally, after watching various organizations visit his community to teach, he realized they left no lasting impact. These groups often hand out educational pamphlets that many villagers can not read due to a low literacy rate. Furthermore, unrelatable images within the lessons make it much harder to connect with the locals. As Amade sees it, “Aid efforts are being hampered by a failure to educate people on the question of why prevention is needed, and by organizations’ ability to tailor messages to local communities.”

Solar Tablet Solutions

Though his solar tablets and educational courses have seen success, there have been bumps along the way. To create a tool that translates well into curated animations and instructional lessons, Amade sought partnerships with anthropologists from top universities in Mozambique. Together, they carefully customize informative lessons relatable to the local communities they visit.

As a result, they have created their programs with relevant images, local fashion and local dialect. With these lessons, students take a quiz after to help solidify their understanding of concepts.

Community Tablet Impact

As Amade provides solar solutions to off-grid communities who have never connected to the world beyond their own, the successes speak for themself.

Amade has been on the road for three years, speaking on mobile banking, HIV prevention, contraceptives, local politics and more. The results from his campaigns are growing.

So far, Community Tablet’s impact shows:

  • 31 districts visited
  • 1,900 people reached
  • 45% voter increase
  • 27% increase in family planning contraceptives
  • 68% newly opened bank accounts

Beyond these numbers, using solar tablets for e-learning breaks educational boundaries and brings hope to communities. With tablets, accessibility is no issue. Tablets are bigger and better for learning than a phone. With a tablet’s size and sturdiness, it is far easier to read, type and watch learning modules. Moreover, solar tablets are low-carbon learning tools that use lower amounts of energy and produce fewer emissions. Additionally, tablets mean less use of printers, litter and minimize costs of learning.

Lastly, incorporating tablets into education allows towns to learn together without feeling like their privacy is being invaded. The tablets are strictly for learning, meaning no one has to share their phone and no distractions. Finally, there is a way for off-grid populations to connect and learn, hone skills and build a new way of life.

As can be seen, these solar tablets and the push for digital literacy is helping these rural communities step into the 21st century.

– Sallie Blackmon
Photo: Tablet Comunitario