Off-grid kiosk brings education and internet to Nigeria

18 pictures

The first Hello Hub has been installed in Suleja, Nigeria (Photo: Tom Saater)

The first Hello Hub has been installed in Suleja, Nigeria (Photo: Tom Saater). View gallery (18 images)

In many parts of Africa, a lack of adequate infrastructure means that it's simply not practical to build a school and employ a teacher to give kids an education – but there are alternatives. The Hello Hub is a solar-powered kiosk that features two touchscreen computers loaded with educational software and an internet connection to help kids and adults learn and get online. The first Hello Hub kiosk was recently installed in Nigeria, and there are more planned for next year.

Bringing to mind the SolarKiosk, the Hello Hub is designed by charity Projects for All, and has bench seating for up to eight people. Its two touchscreen computers are built using standard off-the-shelf parts and are housed in rugged waterproof enclosures which also protect against dust. The computers are designed to be easily repairable, and feature remote access software to allow troubleshooting from afar.

The computers run a custom version of Edubuntu, an educational-themed Linux flavor, which contains plenty of educational software as standard, plus an office suite, media editing tools, and web browser. Users interact with the computers via touchscreen, webcam, keyboard, and microphone, and each member of the community has their own login that loads a personalized desktop, with their files and activities saved.

The Hello Hub runs off-grid using solar power and a battery array, and internet access is supplied via satellite or cell-network based connectivity. The kiosks also create a Wi-Fi point that people can access with their own devices.

During construction, the Hello Hub team doesn't just roll in and build the kiosk for the community, but rather involves everyone in the process.

"Rather than 'give' the communities these systems, we partner with them, working alongside, to make an equal investment of time, skills and knowledge in order to build a community owned, managed and maintained Hello Hub," says the group. "This ensures sustainability and community empowerment. We open source all of our technology and methods and publish 'how-to' guides so that anyone, anywhere can build one too."

So far, the first Hello Hub has been installed in Suleja, Nigeria, and at least five more hubs are planned for Eastern Nigeria in March of next year.

Source: Hello Hubs

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