There are about 5,000 primary and secondary schools in the Philippines with no access to electricity. This translates to approximately 35,000 teachers and 1.1 million students with no, or limited, access to light in their school, and for most, in their homes.
Students do their assignments in the darkness of the night, with only the dim lights of candles or kerosene lamps to accompany them. Teachers find it hard to prepare their lesson plans, and check their students’ work, as the night envelopes their surroundings. For them, work and learning pause with the setting of the sun.
Our Empowering Education programs aim to provide learners in unelectrified communities with environments that are more conducive to learning, whether at home, in school, or within the village.
Solar Education and Learning Facilities
The Solar Education and Learning Facilities (SELF) Program is a partnership between Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines and We Care Solar (a US-based non-profit organization) that bridges US schools’ capability to give with the (lighting and) power needs of Philippine rural learning institutions.
While the We Share Solar (WSS) Program in the US facilitates the assembly and donation of solar suitcases by American students, the Share SELF Program in the Philippines ensures that the WSS donations provide lighting and charging capabilities to deserving learning institutions in the Philippines, for the benefit of Filipino teachers and learners.
HOW IT WORKS
Teachers and students in the US learn about solar technology, engineering, and energy issues in the Philippines. This culminates in the building of We Share Solar suitcases: a standalone, renewable energy system that can light a room, charge cell phones, head lamps, laptops, and other low-powered electronic devices.
These WSS Suitcases are then shared with unelectrified, off-grid learning institutions in the rural Philippines: teachers’ quarters, students’ dorms, alternative learning classrooms, review centers, school libraries, community learning centers, and tribal centers.
Recipient-partner institutions in the Philippines are screened and qualified based on need and commitment to the sustainability of the project. Schools and institutions have to apply for the suitcase, pass through screening and validation, attend sustainability-focused trainings, and commit to sustaining the proper management and operations of the WSS suitcases. Donor schools and other partners are bridged with the recipient-partners with post-installation updates and communications, facilitated by StS.
SELF is a cycle of LEARNING, BUILDING, and SHARING in the quest to light up the schools in the rural Philippines.
Solar Libraries aim to provide learners from unelectrified households with brighter and safer lights so they can safely and comfortably study at night.
We aim to replace the candles and kerosene lamps used by teachers and students with solar lanterns that are donated to the schools, operated like a library, for the teachers and students to borrow and use
HOW IT WORKS
StS profiles and selects schools whose needs and interest level match ours. We work with teachers, PTA, and other stakeholders to customize a system for managing and sustaining the solar library.
We train students and parents to care for the lanterns, and appoint and train a Solar Librarian (a teacher or a PTA member) to manage the library and its maintenance fund.
Once fundraising and infrastructure for the project is complete, we make sure the library gets off to a good start. Within two months of launch, we follow-up with participants to address any issues and potential improvements to the program.
Within 12 months of launch, program sustainability is assessed, and a report is prepared to document the impact of the Solar Library on the participating learner, the school and the community.