E-learning in rural Nigeria

Nearly half this week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting was spent discussing the Knowledge Resource Centre (KRC) at Fantsuam Foundation (FF) - but it was well worth it!

Kelechi, Director of Fantsuam’s Academy, and recently-appointed KRC Officer Ladi updated the UK on their plans for the KRC, with the help of John. Kelechi told us: “Presently, we are reviewing the Workplan for the KRC, working out a good strategy towards more purposeful service delivery.” He added that “the KRC is custodian to all learning resources of the Academy”.

John explained that they see the KRC  being “a learning hub - a repository which can be accessed for the Academy and any other learning that goes on in FF”. He went on: “The initial focus of the KRC will be its use by and for children. The Children's Computer Club, CCC, is a component of the new children's programme. We'd like all FF's formal and informal learning to be managed from the KRC, allowing people to come in to use it.”

The UK team was told that the Learning about Living project was due to start on Saturday 3rd July. Kelechi informed us that the LAL curriculum is targeted mainly at young adults and covers life skills while also exploring health and personal  issues and covering topics such as Arts, Culture, Religion, Career, etc.

Kelechi  explained: “One of the first tasks we have at the KRC is to ensure we have all our course materials hosted on Dokeos platform. ( Dokeos is an LMS, learning management system, much like Moodle.) This includes managing and maintaining the e-learning platform - which for now is being used to deliver interactive lessons.”

John informed us that “ a whole new system is being developed to manage learners records, as part of a larger FF Management Information System, MIS” . Kelechi added that, with the help of a new VSO volunteer Gayle, he is looking to apply Microfinance Open Source Solution (MIFOS) software to Fantsuam Foundation’s extensive microfinance programme.

Bala then gave Pam and I a mini-tutorial about condensers, fridges and freezers! I learned that there is a very real and immediate need for cheap and reliable refrigeration - not only for domestic use but, as John pointed out: “Our clinic needs a fridge to store medications, vaccines...So do 10,001 rural clinics across Nigeria!”

I  understand that Bala is co ordinating the experiment to tackle this very real and pressing need.
The story so far is that David, a solar Engineer from Jos (who works with Yves who installed FF’s solar equipment), has found a DC condenser. Bala has also found a distributor for a US- based DC compressor manufacturer in Nigeria. Apparently the DC condenser is the engine of the fridge/freezer that works with solar power and Bala intends to replace the regular AC condensers of old freezers with a new DC condenser.

He doesn’t want to buy new freezers - just  to replace the condenser and connect it to solar panels. John said: “We will like to have these produced as a Social Business, make enough profit to supply the fridges to clinics and homes that cannot afford them .“ Bala puts the cost of condenser at about $1,000 and says he needs two panels for each freezer and that each costs about $500. John said: “There are local suppliers of imported panels, but some day we would start making our own panels.”

Other Matters Arising from the meeting included a Sickle Cell Disease update from John: He said: “We went to another community last Saturday and were able to screen 355 babies. It’s a village called Gwantu. Will send fotos today.”

Solar Power update: FF have had one solar lamp donated by a group from Lagos, it also has a charger.
Preparations were also made for the The First Thursday Meeting "Phones in Rural Africa: Practicalities and Potential".