Kibasila Sec School ICT Club

Empowering Minds Through Digital Narratives: Celebrating National Storytelling Week with Camara Education

Kibasila Sec School ICT Club

Empowering Minds Through Digital Narratives: Celebrating National Storytelling Week with Camara Education.

It’s National Storytelling Week, and what better way to celebrate than by shining a spotlight on Camara Education’s story and the impact we are having on children’s lives. By sharing just a few of our stories through the week, we want to highlight our unwavering commitment to empowering minds and transforming lives through digital transformation. We’ll be adding stories about some of the students and teachers we have made a difference to as we go along, so come back here or check our social media for progress.

At the heart of education lies the power to inspire. Through our innovative approach, we harness the magic of digital storytelling to engage learners, fostering creativity, critical thinking and a love for learning. 

Camara Education goes beyond traditional educational methods by embracing technology as a means to connect learners with ways they can transform their futures. In an era dominated by technology, we recognise the importance of adapting to the changing educational landscape. Our initiatives leverage technology to make learning more accessible, engaging and relevant to the digital generation. Many of the students at the schools we supply would otherwise not have access to these tools to progress their digital learning; some have never seen a computer before entering a Camara eLearning centre. 

We also extend our impact beyond the classroom by actively engaging with the wider community. In each of the countries where we operate – Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia – our office is led and staffed by locals seeking to support their own communities. Many of our staff have come through our internship programme, designed to give hands-on experience in a workplace environment to graduates and IT students in further education. We also run Youth Skills programmes, aimed at students who have missed out on education, or been excluded from it. And in the schools where we operate, we try to reach out to the wider community.  By promoting digital literacy we empower individuals to share their own stories, fostering a sense of community and connection. Through technology, Camara Education is building bridges and breaking down barriers. 

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Partnership with Helios Towers

Helios Towers is a leading multinational independent telecommunications infrastructure company, focused on driving the growth of mobile communications across Africa and the Middle East. As the leading independent towerco in Tanzania, Helios Towers Tanzania supports mobile operators as they expand their coverage across the country. 

Last year, Helios Towers Tanzania donated computers and funded Camara Education Tanzania to set up an eLearning Centre at Kurasini Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. The success of that project has led Helios to commit to supporting at least one more school a year in the future: the centre at Mkwajuni Secondary School in Zanzibar was completed in time for the new school year in September 2023; a centre at Mzumbe Secondary School in Morogoro region will become operational later this year.

As ever, Camara’s contribution involved much more than installing the networked computer lab – at Mkwajuni we provided a broad range of locally-appropriate learning materials and conducted an intensive 5-day training program for school leaders, teachers and students. This training initiative was a transformative experience, equipping a total of 27 dedicated teachers and 7 school leaders with the skills necessary to effectively manage their classrooms, create educational materials and confidently navigate the digital realm. 45 students also took part, learning how to leverage computers to enhance their learning, acquire essential digital skills, and explore the endless possibilities offered by the digital age. These skills will be passed on to their peers.

The grand unveiling of the computer lab at Mkwajuni school was graced by the presence of Tom Greenwood, Group Chief Executive of Helios Towers, and the Head of the ICT Training Department from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Zanzibar, Sadiq Makanyaga.

Tom Greenwood, Group CEO of Helios Towers, speaking at the launch

Tom Greenwood delivered an inspiring message to the students, encouraging them to embrace a lifelong journey of learning and to dare to dream big. He underlined that their potential was boundless, with the power to become engineers, doctors, athletes, or anything they aspired to be. Furthermore, he urged them to harness these computers as tools for their personal growth and transformation.

Sadiq Makanyaga

In a parallel context, Sadiq Makanyaga, Head of the ICT Training Department, emphasized the pivotal role of teachers in ushering in this educational transformation. He pledged continued support and ongoing training for educators to streamline and enhance the teaching process. Mr Makanyaga expressed a strong desire for teachers to shift away from traditional teaching aids such as blackboards and chalk, noting the success of smart classrooms in many other countries.

And this is what a couple of the students at Helios schools had to say:

 “Experiencing a computer for the first time was like stepping into a whole new world. I had never touched a computer before, and to be honest, I was a bit nervous. But the teachers and Camara Team guided us patiently, showing us how to navigate the system and use basic applications. As I started exploring, I was amazed by the vast amount of information and learning resources available. The computer became a window to a world of knowledge that I had never seen before. It opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I’m excited to continue learning and exploring with this incredible tool”

Mwanaidi Othumani

“Receiving the computers has changed the way I approach learning and problem-solving. Before, I struggled with accessing the latest information for my science and history projects, but now, I feel more confident and informed. Computers have opened up a world of knowledge that has inspired me to delve deeper into various subjects and expand my horizons.

James Liwale

A view of the completed lab

Automation Anywhere CEO visits Tanzania

The chief executive and co-founder of Automation Anywhere, Mihir Shukla, recently visited Moshi Technical School in Shirimatunda, Tanzania. Automation Anywhere develops intelligent automation software used by businesses worldwide. They have been donating their end-of-life and surplus IT equipment to Camara for use in our school projects, and Mihir was eager to see the end result.

School Principal Mr. Philipo Mwanga gave the visiting group – which included colleagues of Mihir who had just summited nearby Mt Kilimanjaro with him, as well as Camara Tanzania Country Director Dayani Mbowe – a tour of the school and its facilities. He summarised the school’s history and their longstanding collaboration with Camara, highlighting the numerous benefits they have experienced through the provision of training, technical support and computers. Mr. Philipo emphasized that, as a technical school, they face limitations in acquiring all the necessary machinery for students to learn from. However, by utilizing computers in their laboratory, they have been able to employ simulations and demonstrate a wide range of machines, effectively showcasing their functionalities to the students.

Outside the computer lab, an enthusiastic assembly of over 50 students and ICT teachers greeted Mr. Shukla with a rousing school song. In response, Mihir shared a brief personal history, recounting his humble upbringing in a small town in India, where access to computers was a luxury he did not have until college. Undeterred by this limitation, he went on to found a succession of successful tech companies: he emphasized to the students his firm belief that talent is universally distributed, but opportunities are not. He imparted a message of possibility and empowerment insisting that everything is achievable. Furthermore, he highlighted the role of Automation Anywhere in supporting Camara’s mission, ensuring that more students can gain access to technology and enhance their life prospects.

Inside the lab, students showcased a diverse range of the computer applications they have been working on. They displayed their skills in coding and programming, demonstrated the use of a moon atlas for studying astronomy and explained how computers aided their learning about the African continent, utilizing maps as part of their civics subject. They also highlighted their use of an English-Swahili dictionary to expand their vocabulary in English and demonstrated report generation on Microsoft Excel.

Mihir commented “Seeing the students’ excitement as they demonstrated their coding and automation projects was incredible. Hearing them speak enthusiastically about learning new skills and sensing their optimism about building a better future was truly uplifting. This trip reinforced that rural communities across the globe persevere and thrive despite everyday challenges. Let us support young people pursuing education and technology to unlock their potential. Together we can empower emerging generations to create positive change.”

Camara Education Ethiopia signed a new project agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education (MoE) in June 2023. The project, titled “Unleashing the Power of ICT in Ethiopian Schools: Improving student learning outcomes and building the capacity of educators through ICT integration from 2023 to 2028”, to continue and expand our collaboration with the MoE for a further five years. Through this new project, Camara aims to: Equip 875 rural schools with 35,000 computers (35-40 computers per school/ eLearning center loaded with local curriculum-aligned content and innovative learning platforms. Train 9,450 educators through this intervention Impact 790,000 learners In addition to offering the support provided in previous agreements for project schools, there have been some additions in this agreement based off our learning from the previous MOU including: Additional refresher Training to be provided after one year Scheduled Maintenance after one year Improved computer specifications to meet current needs Updated content from MoE and others 35-40 PCs per school, as number of PCs was found not to be enough in schools vs number of students On request from Camara, the agreement contains further details on the removal of Ewaste from schools previously supported.

Camara Education Ethiopia signed a new project agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education

Camara Education Ethiopia signed a new project agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education (MoE) in June 2023. The project, titled “Unleashing the Power of ICT in Ethiopian Schools: Improving student learning outcomes and building the capacity of educators through ICT integration from 2023 to 2028”, to continue and expand our collaboration with the MoE for a further five years. Through this new project, Camara aims to: Equip 875 rural schools with 35,000 computers (35-40 computers per school/ eLearning center loaded with local curriculum-aligned content and innovative learning platforms. Train 9,450 educators through this intervention Impact 790,000 learners In addition to offering the support provided in previous agreements for project schools, there have been some additions in this agreement based off our learning from the previous MOU including: Additional refresher Training to be provided after one year Scheduled Maintenance after one year Improved computer specifications to meet current needs Updated content from MoE and others 35-40 PCs per school, as number of PCs was found not to be enough in schools vs number of students On request from Camara, the agreement contains further details on the removal of Ewaste from schools previously supported.

Camara Education Ethiopia recently signed a new agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education (MoE). The project, titled “Unleashing the Power of ICT in Ethiopian Schools: Improving student learning outcomes and building the capacity of educators through ICT integration from 2023 to 2028”, aims to continue and expand our collaboration with the MoE for a further five years. 

Through this new project, Camara aims to: 

  • Equip 875 rural schools with 35,000 computers – 35-40 computers per school – loaded with local curriculum-aligned content and innovative learning platforms. 
  • Train 9,450 educators  
  • Impact 790,000 learners

In addition to offering the support provided in previous agreements for project schools, there have been some additions in this agreement based on our learning over the past few years:

  • Additional refresher Training to be provided after one year
  • Scheduled Maintenance after one year
  • Improved computer specifications to meet current needs
  • Updated content from MoE and others
  • 35-40 PCs per school, as number of PCs was found not to be enough in schools vs number of students
  • On request from Camara, the agreement contains further details on the removal of Ewaste from schools previously supported.
Unleashing the power of ICT in Ethiopian schools

Our local team in Addis Ababa unpacks and thoroughly tests the refurbished computers we ship out. They install an open-source operating system (Ubuntu) and load educational software and content aligned to the national curriculum and in local languages on each computer. All the computers are also loaded with an offline version of Wikipedia, creating an extraordinary learning resource for schools which often have no library books and limited internet connections. And most important of all, the computers are installed with PDFs of Ministry of Education textbooks covering the entire school curriculum. Textbooks are in very short supply in many of Ethiopia’s 40,000 schools, so this alone is a crucial resource, enabling students to access information even in areas where the lack of good internet connectivity can mean they have no or sporadic access to online content.

Our technicians travel to each school and kit out a fully functional eLearning centre, installing cabling and anti-surge protection along with 35-40 refurbished computers.

A critical element of our programme is to actively train both school management and teachers to ensure they have the necessary digital skills to maximise the use of the eLearning centre in their school. Follow-up training courses are provided to ensure progress continues and targets are achieved.

Kidist Mulat during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School

Camara Education and British Council Ethiopia

Educating the Whole Family

Camara Education Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and British Council Ethiopia has installed e-learning labs in seven schools in Afar province and 14 in Amhara. Each computer is stocked with resources and programmes that work off-line. 

The labs aim to build skills and confidence for female students. Gender and girls’ club members will be prioritised for using the labs and teaching their peers, raising both their status in the community and achievement levels.  



Kidist Mulat during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School
Kidist Mulat during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School

“If the girl is educated, the whole family is educated”

Kidist Mulat

Kidist Mulat leads the gender club in Semera Girls’ Boarding School. This large, clean, well-organised school sits on the outskirts of Semera, the capital city of Afar. Students in Kidist’s school come from the whole Woreda. Though the school is only for girls, they still face many cultural challenges due to their gender.

There are a lot of cultural challenges around our school due to gender. The culture is that the parents will give their female children for marriage early and then they may also have a child too early. The families will arrange this without the daughter knowing. Then they will stop school. 

Kidist explained how female students are eager to join gender club seeking their support if they face early marriage. Semera Girls’ Boarding School accepts students from grade five to ten. Students in their gender clubs are high achievers, “Because, they have the capacity to share ideas with their communities and change the feeling of their local culture”. 

A Nurturing Community

The students in Kidist’s school form a close-knit supportive community. They may arrive with different mother tongues but learn English and Amharic, “They sleep here and talk together in the dorms and other communal areas.” Visitors are not usually allowed inside the compound, and if they come are met only at the gate. 

If a student is unwell ‘student police’ support them, checking on them and finding out the issue. There is an open approach to consequences of periods, with sanitary towels provided. For discipline issues students may be asked to take on garden watering tasks. 

The school wants to build the confidence and strength of female students. Along with this close supportive environment female role models are invited in to share experiences. The gender club leads these activities and is vital to helping students through issues they face from families and the community.

If the students have family nearby who want to make their girls have an early marriage the gender club will invite them into the school, encourage them to change their mind and explain why this should not happen. They even took one family to court to stop an early marriage.

Kidist Mulat with a guest from Camara Education during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School
Kidist Mulat with a guest from Camara Education during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School

Educating the next Generation

Kidist thinks the main priority for education should be raising access to technology, “It’s a big chance for us to show the wider process of technology to our students”. But her concerns about female students accessing education remain. The answer, she believes, lies with the influence of religious leaders.

We need to raise the awareness of religious leaders about the use of education and learning for girls. It’s the female student who will become the child bearer and have a family. If she’s educated her whole family and the next generation will also be educated. The society in Afar accepts the opinions and words of religious leaders more then the government.

Kidist Mulat during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School
Kidist Mulat during training at Semera Girls’ Boarding School

Learning through Technology

Students who arrive from rural communities might not have had any exposure to technology. The school had very few computers before the new e-learning lab, not enough for the students to use themselves.  

We learn through paper and blackboards now. But using computers motivates students; they have much more interest in using digital media. They learn more in a short time when using computers and phones. They can work for hours, much longer than when they use traditional materials. 

Kidist sees digital literacy as adding value throughout her students’ lives. “Alongside their education they can work – they can do administrative tasks, becoming experts and working alongside their education.”

Technology also helps their family see their skills and think of them as valuable. It makes their academic performance greater and society sees their skills and values them.

Supporting Dreams

Kidist’s view reaches much further than the school walls. “I want to make society aware of the value of education, especially the community outside of the town.”

If the girl is educated, the whole family is educated; she will look after her children well and send her daughters to school. If she is aware of education she can stop her daughters from being victims of FGM.  One educated female means four to five educated people in the family. 

Kidist’s dream for others is reflected in her personal aims “I want to keep being educated, I want to achieve a doctorate. I want to help others through this especially in the rural areas”. She believes education is a right for everyone, and students should be fully supported to follow their dreams too. Empowering female students through digital literacy is one large step towards this. 

My dream is seeing my students reach the top level of achievement in their whole lives. That would make me very happy. To reach their full potential in life, work, family and health.

Semera Girls’ Boarding School, Afar
Semera Girls’ Boarding School, Afar
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Youth skills scholarships in Zambia

The Kabwe School of Continuing Education in Kabwe, about 140km north of Lusaka, Zambia, functions both as a traditional school and a skills institute, offering young individuals practical training in fields such as Electrical Engineering, Computer Skills and other specialisms that equip the students to contribute actively to society.

The equipment in the school was provided thanks to funding from Lenovo, facilitating hands-on computer studies and enhancing access to educational resources across various subjects.

Students can apply for scholarships with the support of the government through Community Development Funds (CDF). These scholarships provide an opportunity to acquire skills from the institution, with full funding from the CDF. Kabwe School of Continuing Education’s principal, Mrs Chimbeza, is keen to urge administrators from other schools to help spread the word and encourage their students – especially girls – to apply for these scholarships.

Principal Chimbeza

Shown in the pictures below and at the top of the page are students engaged in Computer Studies within the skills section. During a recent activity they were installing CMOS batteries in the computers, ensuring accurate system dates. They’re not just learning, but utilizing their acquired skills to assist the school in reducing maintenance expenses!

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World Environment Day: June 5th

Slash your e-waste and make a positive contribution to the world

In the digital age, technology has become an integral part of our lives. As we upgrade our smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices to keep up with the latest advances, a pressing issue emerges: electronic waste, or e-waste. As the world’s dependence on technology continues to grow, so does the amount of e-waste we generate. Around 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year, a figure expected to reach 75 million tonnes by 2030,

Reusing IT equipment can play a vital role in combating e-waste. Instead of disposing of old devices, they can be refurbished and repurposed for extended use. Reuse not only reduces the amount of e-waste generated but also minimizes the energy and resources required to manufacture new devices. By extending the lifespan of IT equipment, we can significantly reduce the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of electronic devices.

Camara is committed to reducing e-waste and supporting the circular economy by reusing and recycling electronic devices. Prolonging the life of computer equipment through refurbishment and reuse is a major step towards sustainability and protecting the environment; reducing emissions and keeping e-waste out of landfill.

As much as 70% of the energy needed to make and operate a typical laptop throughout its lifespan is used in the manufacturing process. So if we can extend the life of existing equipment we can slash e-waste and reduce carbon emissions in the process. The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Reusing IT equipment plays a vital role: instead of disposing of old devices, they can be refurbished and repurposed for extended use.

By donating your end-of-life or surplus computer equipment to Camara, you not only help reduce pollution, emissions and the use of landfill, but you also contribute to our efforts to bridge the digital divide. We install refurbished computers in eLearning centres in schools in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, providing students who may never have used a computer before with the opportunity to enter the digital world. This opens up a whole world of employment and life opportunities. Without the gear, they can’t achieve that.

Bear in mind that it’s crucial to ensure proper data sanitization when reusing IT equipment. Our specialist processing partners meet the highest security and environmental standards, so your IT assets and data are safe with us.

In conclusion, e-waste poses a significant environmental challenge, but reusing IT equipment presents at least a hint of a solution. By embracing reuse, we can reduce e-waste, conserve resources, and create a more sustainable future. It’s time to recognize the value of our old devices and give them a second life, benefiting both the environment and those in need. Let’s make a conscious effort to promote the reuse of IT equipment and take a step towards a greener tomorrow.

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Dell Technologies Partnership update

The second phase of our latest project in partnership with Dell Technologies in Ethiopia was completed in April, as the tenth school was connected to the server at Camara Ethiopia’s offices. This project allows us to remotely monitor the eLearning centres at these ten schools, in addition to the five that were beneficiaries of the first stage of the project.

Each school has been furnished with a networked eLearning centre equipped with 25 desktop computers. In addition, Camara provides teacher and leadership training to promote stakeholder engagement, as well as access to Camara Learning Studio via the server, supplying curriculum-aligned content for maths and science classes for students in grades 9 through 12. Our technicians provide support and use the server to track and evaluate learning outcomes by analysing usage data on the Dell server.  

The principal aims of the project are two-fold: to improve teaching quality through training; and to enhance students’ experience, academic results and life chances with digital education.

Each school has been furnished with a networked eLearning centre equipped with 25 desktop computers. In addition, Camara provides teacher and leadership training to promote stakeholder engagement, and access to Camara Learning Studio via the server, supplying curriculum-aligned content for maths and science classes for students in grades 9 through 12. Our technicians provide support and use the server to track and evaluate learning outcomes by analysing usage data on the Dell server.  

Students in the lab at Don Bosco School

The principal aims of the project are two-fold: to improve teaching quality through training; and to enhance students’ experience, academic results and life chances with digital education.

Teachers’ Professional Development will lead to:

  • Improved teachers’ capacity (both contents and pedagogy) in teaching Science, Mathematics and English subjects with IT
  • Improved teacher motivation and interest in the teaching profession

Provision of the networked lab and usage monitoring will lead to:

  •  Increased classroom interaction in the teaching and learning process
  •  Decrease in student dropout rate
  •  More efficient management of the ICT infrastructure and resources resulting in more effective eLearning centre utilization

The schools involved in the second phase are:

MISRAK GOH SECONDARY SCHOOL
DON BOSCO DILLA SECONDARY SCHOOL
HARAMAYA SECONDARY SCHOOL
LIDETA CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL SCHOOL
DR. HADDIS ALEMAYEHU SECONDARY SCHOOL
ADDIS ABABA BETHEL MEKANE YESUS SECONDARY SCHOOL
KOMONA SECONDARY SCHOOL
HARAMAYA UNIVERSITY MODEL SCHOOL
DIMTU SECONDARY SCHOOL
BULBUL SECONDARY SCHOOL

While we continue to offer support to the five schools from the first phase:

SHIMELIS HABTE SECONDARY SCHOOL
ASSAI PUBLIC SCHOOL
NATIVITY GIRLS SCHOOL
BASSO SECONDARY SCHOOL
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL

Teacher Andualem Tsegaye praised the scheme:

Andulem Tsegaye, ICT teacher at Don Bosco School

“I have been an ICT teacher at Dilla Don Bosco Secondary School since 2005. Now that we are using the new eLearning center based on a timetable, we are noticing a gradual improvement in academic results and students are happier to learn thanks to the Camara computers. They are also more motivated in enhancing their education.”

Camara Logo

We’re Hiring!

Camara Education is celebrating its 18th birthday this year and our continuing mission offers an opportunity for a committed sales professional to join our team as an ITAD business development executive.

The primary objective of the role is to secure end-of-use computers from new corporate donors suitable for the support of our work in Africa.

The role will require the successful candidate to have key account management skills and the ability to develop strong partnerships with both UK and international donors.

As part of our existing sales team, the candidate will be a very focussed individual capable of hitting the ground running, have a strong work ethic and will need to be able to work on their own initiative. An understanding of IT hardware and previous experience in the sector would be an advantage.

The role will be based in the UK and will be remotely based. The role will require travel within the UK to meet both donors and Camara colleagues.

A competitive compensation package will be available to the right candidate.

For more information, please send covering letter to us at HR@Camara.org outlining why you are applying for the position and what you feel you could add to the organisation. Please also attach your CV.

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A Container of Computers

The latest consignment of computers has arrived at our offices in Mombasa, Kenya, part of our ongoing partnership with Dell Technologies to bring educational technology and digital access to marginalised areas. 23 Kenyan schools will benefit from new eLearning centres, and we’ll also be setting up three ICT innovation hubs.

As soon as the container arrives it is unloaded, prior to thorough final checks on the equipment before it can be dispatched to a waiting school. Thanks @DellTechnologies!