The project seeks to provide a set of an educational kit known as SmartBox. The box contains a SmartServer that also has wireless internet access; and at least ten (10) Laptop/Chromebook computers and accessories to improve the educational experience of students and faculty in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. The project includes working with a participating organization (Destiny Hands International Inc.), a 501(c)3 located in San Diego, California which has first-hand knowledge of the school needs and is able to perform an on-site verification of the project completion. Project Duration: July 2023- March 2024
Liberia experienced a brutal civil (1989-2003) that greatly impacted the educational system of the country. This was complicated with the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus (2014-2015) and the recent COVID19 pandemic. USAID states "Liberia is significantly behind most other African countries in nearly all education statistics." It has one of the world's highest levels of out of schoolchildren of roughly 20% from ages 6-14 year-old who are not in class. The Net Enrollment Rate (NER) for primary education, the percentage of primary age students attending primary grades is at 44%. There is a huge desire for education, a desire not being satisfied thereby increasing high chances of drop out, vulnerability and gender inequality especially among young girls. Despite the attempts to rebuild infrastructure after the war, poverty, and the lack of capacity and logistics such as training, textbooks, monitoring and support continues to affect the education system of the country among other things.
The purchase and installation of a SmartBox will be a game changer in the instructional capacity and learning opportunity for students. The SmartBox provides abundant educational resources including electronic textbooks, programmed learning links, instructional materials, and alternative lesson presentation or learning options. It is easy and suitable for mobility to rural areas, user friendly, diverse, and adoptable functions. The program provides opportunity for customization and upgrade to fit local needs or purposes. This equipment is also useful in teaching, conference presentations and one on one learning. A project like this will be a great relieve to school administrations and schoolchildren as they face challenges with limited financial resources.
The use of a SmartBox will resolve six critical challenges faced by students:
1.Lack of internet - It provides students a huge collection of content sent wireless to the Chromebooks or laptop computers.
2.Limited electricity - Operates on battery power for 12-16 hours; recharges in 2-4 hours with generator or solar system.
3.Library shortage - Students and faculty have access to a myriad of books, videos and learning resources.
4.Teacher shortage - Students can learn in the absence of a qualified teacher, and teachers can learn to prepare themselves with instruction lessons.
5.Complicated and chaotic wiring system - This narrows the complexity and reduces the chances of difficult computer wiring system.
6.Security - It is portable and can be easily yet securely locked and stored
This project will directly impact at least 300 students each year and indirectly benefit thousands upon thousands of Liberian schoolchildren including many orphans and extremely poor children with little or no opportunity for education. It will also be a huge encouragement and blessing to the school staff and administration. The SmartBox will be use every day of school, each year for many years to come. This will be a gift given by Rotary and its partners for the purpose of enhancing education and developing world peace through creating understanding between nations.
Who will carry out the project / Budget Summary?
The sponsoring club Rotarians will be involved in project planning and promotion, logistics and handover ceremonies. The sponsoring club (E-Club of San Diego Global) will specifically provide a total sum of US$2,000 for this project to underwrite a one-time cost of the SmartServer @ $1,500, training and installation @ $300 and partial shipment cost of the equipment @ $200. The partnering organization (Destiny Hands) will provide funds to underwrite the cost of the remaining line items for this project (10 laptop computers =$2200, the balance shipment cost @ $600, and contingency @ $240). The collaborating organization, with assistance from its affiliating local Liberian organization, will coordinate and carry out the project and will be responsible for any future maintenance needs.