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Camara Education’s impact brought to life in interview with 13 year old Florence

Florence Kambole is 13 years old. She lives within “walkable distance” of her school- Chitanda Primary in Matero, Lusaka, Zambia. It was here that she was first introduced to Camara’s computers at the age of 12.

From assignments to educational games such as Zuma; the computers have assisted Florence in a vast array of areas on her journey to education.

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Florence Kambole; student and enthusiastic user of Camara computers.

She has found that using Camara computers has assisted her in her understanding of ICT, in turn, it has increased her interest in learning: “Using computers make it easier for us to understand Computer Studies. Computers make learning very interesting. Before we received the computers, it was difficult to practice what we were learning in ICT.”

Her enthusiasm with regards to education has grown since the Camara computers were introduced to her school; mentioning that she has spent more time than ever before in school since the computers arrived: “I spend more time in school than I used to before we had computers in the school.”

Even at 13, Florence has already recognised the significance technology enhanced education will have on her future: “I believe being educated will help me have a better future. The things we learn on the computers will help me get into college or university.”

With high hopes for the future, basic computer skills are necessary for her to succeed and excel: “When I grow up, I want to become an accountant. My dream is to become a leader in the government”.

Florence is one of over 24,000 Zambian students Camara Education has impacted. We are constantly striving to rise this figure and inspire young individuals like Florence to improve their life opportunities.

Kisuani Youth Polytechnic educating thousands with the help of Camara Education Kenya

Kisuani Youth Polytechnic (K.Y.P) was established in 1968 in Majengo, Kenya. K.Y.P has delightedly grown from strength to strength over time and in 1990 it was one of 64 Polytechnics across the country upgraded to offer Artisan courses. Through consistent improvements of its services and skill up-gradation courses, the institute has evolved into a thriving establishment; a statement which would be difficult to utter if it were not for the help of Camara Education Kenya.

As an institute whose vision statement is “To Consistently Offer Better, Relevant, Affordable and Quality Vocational Skills Training to the Community”, K.Y.P has been a grateful receiver of both Camara Kenya’s computers and assistance. Camara has not only been supplying K.Y.P with computers since 2008, the technical team have also been there to offer support and guidance throughout. Ambrose Mwachibua, the ICT instructor at Kisuani Youth Polytechnic, is more than appreciative of Camara’s support; “Camara Kenya have been providing the computers at an affordable rate, so that ICT and E-learning can reach as many people as possible. We are glad that we have good partnership with the Camara organisation”.

A grateful glimpse into Kisuani Youth Polytechnic’s eLearning centre.

At present, K.Y.P have both Kenya National Examination Council Artisan courses and National Industrial Training Authority on offer. With courses such as CCTV Camera Installation and Maintenance, Computer Maintenance and Repair and Computer Studies at hand, Camara’s computers have continuously supported students of K.Y.P on their journey to education.

Kisuani Youth Polytechnic has assisted in helping thousands of students to discover and achieve their aspirations by providing a pathway for them to gain employment. As well as educating young individuals, K.Y.P strives to change the lives of adults looking to engross themselves in education in order to change their current circumstances. With continued guidance from Camara Education Kenya, Kisuani Youth Polytechnic has the opportunity to provide individuals with the chance to better their present and create a promising future through technology enhanced education.


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Student’s hard at work in the eLearning centre.



Camara teams up with Google

Camara’s ambitious plans to empower 3 million disadvantaged students supported by

€560,000 grant to fund outreach in 70 schools in Ireland and Kenya

Google & Camara .
Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2017

Monday, 26th June 2017:  Camara Education, the Irish NGO which recently announced ambitious plans to positively impact the lives of 3 million disadvantaged students, has announced an exciting new venture supported by, the philanthropic arm of Google.

Camara Education’s mission is to transform education using technology,  empowering disadvantaged students in both Ireland and Kenya.   A €560,000 grant from will see Camara delivering technology planning, teacher professional development  and computers to 44  schools in Ireland and 26 schools in Kenya, impacting the lives of 29,000 students.

In Ireland, Camara’s work will support the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Schools and help to address specific goals in the 2017 Action Plan released by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton last week.  The in-depth engagement with the schools includes development of a whole school technology plan, provision of computers, and a suite of innovative professional learning experiences for teachers and principals.  Education bodies like Educate Together, Trinity Access 21, the NAPD (National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals), and the JMB (Joint Managerial Body) will be involved in the programme.

Commenting on the partnership, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said, “It is great to see organisations like Camara and working together to support schools in embedding the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning, complementing the measures that will be implemented through my Department’s Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020.”  

In partnership with the national network of Education Centres, Camara will also be making an ‘Introduction to  Computer Science’ course  available to all teachers across the country. Teachers will be introduced to CS First, Google’s online programme for Computer Science education for 9-14 year olds that aims to increase students confidence when using computers and grow their perseverance to tackle difficult problems.

John Fitzsimons, Camara Education CEO said; “Our vision is to deliver real impact through technology and to inspire and empower a young generation to improve their life opportunities.  Working with educational institutions to support them in the integration of technology to deliver better educational outcomes, better grades and 21st Century Skills is the core of our work.  Being supported by is hugely significant and will help us reach our ambitious target of impacting an additional 3 million learners over the next three years”.

Shane Nolan, Director, Google Ireland said; “At Google, we’re passionate about how new technologies can transform the way we learn.  Camara Education shares our belief in the power of technology and education to inspire and empower young people to develop critical skills for their futures.  We are pleased to partner with Camara in its work in Ireland and Kenya.   

“In particular, we are excited that Camara will help Irish teachers develop the confidence and skills to introduce Computer Science (CS) in the primary school classroom. Embedding CS as a fundamental and rigorous subject throughout the entire school curriculum – including the introduction of CS as a Leaving Certificate subject from 2018 – will support and encourage the next generation of technology leaders and problem solvers who will help drive a new wave of innovation in Ireland”.  

As part of the partnership with Camara, Google employees are also volunteering in Camara’s Dublin office, sharing their knowledge and skills with the Camara team.

For further information please contact:



Steven Daly, CEO Camara Ireland,, 086 8231328



Laurie Mannix,  MKC Google Press Office,, 086 8143710


Camara Education Advisory on Ransomware Attack

The worldwide impact of the WannaCry Ransomware attack is a stark reminder of the need to ensure all systems are updated regularly.




How does this threat effect me?


What else do I need to do to minimise the threat?

  • The attack spreads through email. So think carefully before opening unsolicited emails or attachments is the best form of prevention.
  • Maintain regular backups.
  • Ensure that all security software products are kept up to date and actively scanning your systems.


Microsoft’s advisory guidance on this issue can be found here and contains more technical information.

Contact us: +353 1 652 2671 or


Journey to Africa – Part 2

In the second of a series of blogs written by journalist Jamie Ball on a recent trip to Africa on behalf of Camara Education read on for a synopsis of his time in Kenya.


After almost a week in Kenya with Camara Education, which is the more memorable image to emerge from some of the largest slums in Africa?

Was it the sight and sound of animated school kids outside each computer lab, almost expiring with excitement while waiting to access the Camara computers? Or was it the still, serene image of a sea of shoes – handed-down, worn out and patched together – resting peacefully outside the lab once said students disappeared within?

However abstract, both go some way in reflecting the results Camara is achieving in Africa.

The students egging to get in the door, much like the dozens of students within the lab who do not want to leave, are not looking to play Pokémon or surf YouTube. They simply want to begin their ICT-based maths, science, English or composition, among other subjects: to be allowed on to a level playing field in which hard work, application and concentration will pay off.
Self-improvement, self-empowerment, Camara style.

And not even power cuts to the school will stop the students, when they will still line-up in the hope the electricity happens to be restored during the their one, 30-minute chance of the week to access ICT.

But what of the shoes outside the door, when there are none outside any other classrooms in any of the multiple schools I visited? Such is the respect for the Camara computers, and the gift of advancement they present, no kid wants to be the one who might bring in clay or dust into the lab, and therefore potentially hamstring the computers’ functionality or longevity.  

The tranquillity is a far cry from the mad matatu (privately owned minibuses) beyond the school gates, jostling about the suburban streets of Nairobi and Mombasa, bejewelled in the most dazzling of paintwork and emblazoned with names like “Smash,” “Damage” and “Psycho.”

Although the country of 46 million has been the traditional powerhouse of East Africa, and with an appreciable middle-class in the major cities, the lack of educational and professional opportunities for millions have kept them locked in the poverty cycle.

Access to ICT – backed-up by extensive teacher training, offline digital learning programmes and IT support – is one long-term measure to help lift those millions out of poverty and Camara is to the forefront in the country’s educational advancement.   

Since 2011, it has dispatched over 9,800 computers to 768 schools across Kenya, while training more than 11,000 teachers.

And Camara Education Kenya’s 2017-2020 plan is similarly ambitious, aiming to dispatch 10,000 computers to 560 schools, while training 5,600 teachers in ICT.

“We are working all over Kenya to ensure that schools, be they public, private, primary or high schools, or different tertiary institutions, including universities, improve their learning outcomes through the use of ICT,” says Camara Education Kenya CEO Masoud Ali, who joined the Irish-based social enterprise in 2014.


“Camara goes out to partner with the different learning institutions to provide hardware, train their different teachers and staff, provide technical support and collect e-waste once the computer, or any electronics, have reached their end of life.


“We also have a youth programme where we work with volunteers who come to Camara. These are out of school youth who have no career path, who come to Camara to volunteer,” says Ali.


“We train them how to repair computers and networks, so they get a basic maintenance skill. They work with us from a period of three to six months, depending on their availability. Later on, some of them open-up their own businesses, while some of them get employed.”

Crucially, Camara supplies and installs ICT equipment to facilitate the e-learning programme, iMlango, which delivers digital access, smartcard-based attendance monitoring and online learning tools to primary schools across Kenya.

This project aims to improve the learning outcomes for 150,000 children, including 68,000 marginalised girls, across 195 computer labs installed to date, capturing the attention of children, teachers, government and aid agencies as it pioneers the creating of a digital education profile for children.



Coding and creativity collide

Coding and creativity collide:
Young people to take on robotics, electronics and the arts in major new nationwide initiative.

National Youth Council, Camara Education Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland join forces to bring STEM skills to young people all over Ireland.

National Youth Council, Camara Education Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland join forces to bring STEM skills to young people all over Ireland.

The ambitious new ‘Maker Project’ will inspire thousands of young people across Ireland to make, create and invent with confidence and curiosity, and increase engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). That’s the message from Camara’s Patron and Ireland’s Digital Champion, David Puttnam, CBE, launching the programme today (04.04.17).


Youth groups nationwide will be trained to work through technology-enhanced activities spanning electronics, robotics and coding to music, arts and crafts as part of this major new initiative. The Maker Project is a partnership between the National Youth Council of Ireland, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people, and TechSpace, a leading creative technology network powered by the social enterprise Camara Education Ireland. The two year project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Mary Cunningham, Director of the NCYI said: “The youth sector is embarking on a groundbreaking journey to inspire young people and those working with them to embrace STEM, 21st century skills and digital literacy in a creative way. This programme is significant – and it is just the first step. Ultimately, all young people in Ireland should have access to STEM and maker activities in an after-school setting, giving them skills and confidence that will be vital to their future lives.”

Addressing a need

Steven Daly, Camara Ireland Manager, explained: “9 out of 10 agree that young people’s interest in STEM is essential for Ireland’s future prosperity*. But a significant number of those working with young people feel they lack the skills or confidence to work on areas of STEM, with 76% citing a lack of training as an issue.** Together with the fact that lower socioeconomic groups generally tend to be less engaged with STEM*, the Maker Project will combat these issues by introducing youth workers to Maker activities in a fun and engaging way through TechSpace, which is already being delivered in over 65 educational sites nationally and is set to further expand its creative technology network.”

In 2017 and 2018, the project will see 320 youth workers from 70 organisations complete a training course on how to run Maker activities with young people. They, in turn, will work with thousands of young people through technology-enhanced activities in workshops and projects building their skills in areas including electronics, robotics and coding as well as music, arts and crafts.

“This project impacts a sector of the education system – the youth work sector – that is often underestimated for its reach and size. With nearly 400,000 young people, 40,000 volunteers, and 1,400 professional youth workers engaged***, the youth work sector can play a significant role in realising the mission of SFI’s Discover Programme.  We want to catalyse, inspire and guide the best in STEM education, outreach and public engagement, which is why we are delighted to announce this capacity-building partnership with the NYCI and Camara Education Ireland,” said Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland.


According to Chris O’Callaghan, CEO of Inver and a funder of the TechSpace programme, “the Maker Project is a wonderful progression of TechSpace’s ability to inspire young people to actively engage with technology. Inver has sponsored 8 TechSpaces since 2016 and I am delighted to extend our sponsorship to this exciting new initiative”.

For Pat O’Doherty, CEO of ESB, another funder of the TechSpace programme, “as a company that depends on having a very technical and highly skilled workforce, we need to find ways of encouraging the next generation to develop skills in STEM”.

Tech Fest: Ireland’s largest creative-tech festival for young people

Over 200 young people each year will also have the opportunity to celebrate and showcase their Maker and STEM skills at the Creative Tech Fest, TechSpace’s flagship event and Ireland’s largest celebration of youth-led creative technology activities.

Register your interest here:


National Youth Council of Ireland

NYCI is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.

Camara Education Ireland

Camara Education Ireland is an education non-profit working with schools, community and youth organisations to help them integrate technology as a learning tool.


TechSpace is a national movement that aims to change the lives of young people in Ireland by becoming Ireland’s leading creative technology network for outcome focused youth development.

About Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, and engagement with STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society. The Foundation’s #BelieveInScience campaign promotes the potential that science and discovery offer Ireland, today and in tomorrow’s world, and to improve understanding of the ability of STEM to create positive change in the world and to drive a sustainable economy in Ireland. Visit for more information.


* Barometer of Science in Ireland:

** Screenagers International Research Project – National Report of The Republic of Ireland:

*** Indecon Report: Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work:

Journey to Africa – Part 1

This blog is one of a series of four,  written by Jamie Ball, a freelance journalist who travelled to Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania on behalf of Camara Education. 

Being of a generation that chiefly, but misleadingly, associates Ethiopia with famine, it being referred to as “utopia” took me a little by surprise upon my arrival. But the mistake was all mine; “utopia” being how Ethiopians tend to pronounce their country’s name, typically twinned with a warm-hearted, winning smile, and after the words “welcome to.”

The most populous landlocked country in the world, and second-most populous nation in Africa, Ethiopia’s population has rocketed more than 25% in the last decade to about 100 million, powering the largest economy (by GDP) in either East or Central Africa.

While its government of late has invested hugely in education, including the construction of over 30 universities in the last 10 years, Camara is helping to fill some of the country’s significant ICT shortages. Thanks to the Irish-based social enterprise, student access to computers has risen rapidly since Camara began operating in Ethiopia in early 2011.

During its five-year project agreement with Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Education, which ended in late 2015, Camara delivered over 16,300 computers to 567 schools across seven regions, while training over 4,700 teachers in ICT.

Chief Executive Officer of Camara Education Ethiopia, Yared Ayele, says one of the reasons he joined Camara in 2014 was because educational improvements need to be from the bottom up.




“Camara works in primary and secondary schools, so I’m deeply interested in kids having early-age exposure to technology and technical and educational resources through technology.

“That’s why I really enjoy working with Camara in Ethiopia, where we work with schools in rural areas that may otherwise not have exposure to computers, or access to digital resources, without our support,” says Yared, a former technical consultant with Accenture in the US.

Yared says that in Ethiopia there are about 34,000 primary and secondary schools, 80% of which are in rural areas that suffer from a lack of infrastructure, educational resources and trained and capable ICT teachers.

In early 2016, Camara Education Ethiopia announced a three-year plan with the Ministry of Education, aiming to improve student learning outcomes through ICT integration in 1,265 primary and secondary schools in remote, rural and disadvantaged communities across all regions of the country.

Before the end of 2018, over 31,000 high-quality, refurbished computers (preloaded with off-line digital libraries, virtual laboratories and text books for all grade levels) will be delivered to those schools.

And then there’s the 6,300-plus teachers expected to complete Camara Education teacher training during that time; in all, reaching over 1.2 million Ethiopian students over the three years. When you consider that in the 12 years since its foundation in 2005, Camara has impacted about two million students across Africa, 1.2 million students in three years in Ethiopia alone is ambitious, but certainly doable.


Yared says in the 10 months to February 2017, Camara has been able to deliver about 5000 computers across 200 schools, equating to about 192,000 students introduced to and learning by computer each month.

“We are not able to achieve this without the support of our donors and our supporters that support our mission through the supply of computers and financial contributions to help our operations: we really appreciate the support.”

Pictured are students from Silti Secondary School, Ethiopia.

iKnowledge Phase 2

We are delighted to say that Phase 2 of iKnowledge in Tanzania is well underway. iKnowledge is a collaborative technology-enhanced learning project which aims to increase the capacity of district education officers, head teachers and teachers across 25 regions of Tanzania (including Zanzibar archipelagos) to integrate ICT in teaching and learning activities. The focus during this phase of the project will be to firstly provide refresher training and support to Phase 1 Academy and Training schools. Secondly, an additional 50 remote secondary schools will be given internet and hardware.This intends to support the sustainability and longevity of the first phase and to have a positive impact on the teaching and learning process.

For phase two the project will undertake the following:

  • Addition of 50 remote secondary schools (Administration school) which will each be provided with 1 laptop, 1 projector and VSAT equipment
  • In-school Refresher Training for project primary schools, regular educational and maintenance support visits throughout the year to support integration of iKnowledge resources into teaching and learning activities.
  • Additional hardware, all primary schools to be upgraded with a UPS each & the 73 teaching lab schools to receive two more laptops each and an installation of a cooling system in the storage unit

Pictured are students from an iKnowledge school in Tanzania –
Mwambao Primary School in Bagamoyo.

Camara Education launches its 2017-2020 Strategy







Today Camara Education together with Lord Puttnam, Ireland’s Digital Champion and John Lonergan Former Governor of Mountjoy, launched its Strategy for 2017-2020.
We here at Camara Education believe that quality education and youth empowerment are the greatest tools to alleviate poverty. As such we improve educational outcomes for young people. In the last 11 years we have achieved the following:

  • Built an organisation with a sustainable model and strong track record.
  • Demonstrated the measurable impact of technology on education.
  • Improved the education of two million students; better skills and better grades.
  • Delivered systematic change in education systems.

As such, we are on the cusp of scaling up our impact and harnessing an increasing appetite for ICT in education.

In the four years from 2017-2020, Camara will improve the quality of education for an additional three million students. Key to achieving this is being rigorous in the measurement of our impact. More importantly, we need to relentlessly act upon those measurements to ensure we are meeting the needs of our educators and young people. By effecting continued systemic change in the education systems we work in we will broad our impact to a far larger population. In addition our efforts will be contributing, to, amongst others, the Sustainable Development Goal 4; quality education.

In order to achieve this, we in Camara are focused on delivering five goals:

  1. Be the leading ICT Education organisation in the countries we operate.
  2. Improve Educational Outcomes by designing and implementing all of our
    education programmes to meet needs of all they serve.
  3. Measure and act upon our educational impact.
  4. Have the best possible people working with us.
  5. Generate the resources required to deliver the strategy.

To read the full report please see here.

Over 200 Young People Celebrate Creativity with TechSpace

On Friday 4th November, over 200 young people from youth clubs and schools across Ireland gathered in anticipation at the Google Foundry for the celebration of the Annual Creative Tech Festival. The event is organised by Camara Ireland as part of the TechSpace Programme, the national education movement that aims to inspire and encourage young people to become digital creators by providing access to software, hardware, trained youth workers and creative mentors.

Robot Making with RoboSlam

The Creative Tech Fest is the perfect opportunity for young digital creators to take part in interactive workshops, to witness inspirational speakers and hear live performances. Young people also celebrate their own creative media pieces, computer science creations and inventive Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) projects that they have been busy working on throughout the year.

Exhibitions from The 3D Design Expo were particularly popular and allowed young people to make their own prints including badges, hearts and horses. Google Expedition took the students on virtual field trips to space and to the Great Barrier Reef. The TechSpace as Gaeilge network gave the opportunity for young people to showcase their work alongside industry partners in the field of creative bilingual media and makers.

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef through Google Cardboard

The afternoon workshops allowed young people gain experience on a variety of innovative technology projects, including mobile app development, robotics, prop design, animation, computer science, documentary making, virtual reality expeditions and music technology. Dean, aged 12 from Athenry said, “It was a brilliant experience, my favourite part was making my robot”.

Torch Building with MakeShop

After the afternoon workshops had ended, attendees were treated to a live performance by Irish Beatboxing Champion, Amaron. Inspirational speeches and great advice came  from Tanya Rosen, Assistant Director on Game of Thrones, and Harry McCann, entrepreneur and one of The Journal’s 20 of Ireland’s most inspirational rising stars under 20 years old.

Young people won awards for many creations, from the most creative use of video to the most outstanding maker and electronics projects. “The day was awesome because we won awards,” said Ameerah, aged 11 from Athenry.

Standout Maker ESB Award Winners, Foroige Gateway Youth Project, Athlone with guest speaker, Harry McCann

According to Jen Hesnan, national coordinator, “TechSpace channels young people’s native interests in technology into something that they can both engage and share with others. By training educators in creative facilitation, any young person who comes through the door can find a purpose, becoming a creator and not just a consumer of technology”.

Selfie with the TechSpacers ! 

To find out all the latest news on Creative Tech Fest, check out