On the 22nd July 2014, Camara attended the official opening of its first solar-powered computer lab in Gros Morne
, Haiti. As part of Camara’s ongoing partnership with University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas
(UCDVO), it is intended that this facility will become the first of many new e-Learning centres to be integrated into the region. This unveiling is the result of a Memorandum of Association
signed over two months ago in University College Dublin by Maureen O’Donnell, Camara’s European and Caribbean Service Manager, and Caroline O’Connor, a representative of UCDVO. The memorandum outlined a plan to introduce a sophisticated solar-powered computer lab with an accompanying teacher training programme to the area; a plan that has now come to fruition.
Camara successfully installed twenty refurbished computers, while also providing a rudimentary training course for the teachers involved. UCDVO have shown their support by administering continuous, valuable teacher training to staff for the duration of their stay. In the coming weeks, Camara will begin work on a specialized training manual for teachers. It will be bilingual: available in both French and Haitian Creole. Camara hopes this will continue to support staff and schools in the region.
This venture has been part of a collaboration between the two organizations that has been ongoing since 2009. An inaugural project in Morogoro, Tanzania was expanded to incorporate multiple schools and an extensive computer training programme.
UCDVO are already involved in many development projects in the greater Gros Morne area, and Camara are thrilled to have launched this new project in partnership with them. The installation of this solar-powered computer lab is an exciting new opportunity, allowing them to focus on one of the central issues impeding access to ICT in Haiti – that of electricity. Electricity is something of an exclusive resource in Haiti; it is quite expensive and generally unavailable outside of urbanized areas. Solar power offers an elegant, practical and renewable alternative.