Rwanda has made great strides in the electrification of the country. While only 19 percent of all households were connected to the electricity grid in 2014, this figure rose to 56 percent in 2020. Renewable energies can play an important role in electrification – also for social institutions such as health centres and schools. This also applies to the pre-primary and primary school “Les Génies” in Ntarama. It is located about 30 kilometres from the centre of Kigali. Especially the electricity costs of the school, which is well equipped with photocopiers and computers, represent a great effort for the school’s administration. At the same time, the future topic of renewable energy is not yet anchored in the curriculum.
This is where the partners, the student cooperative Rwanda-Gilde eSG of the Louisenlund-Internet in Schleswig-Holstein and the Rwandan school board association Les Génies of the pre-primary and primary school in Ntarama, come in. The partnership aims to raise awareness of the use of renewable energy in schools and to inform students, parents, teachers and the school parents’ association about the benefits of renewable energy.
The student cooperative Rwanda-Gilde eSG has been cooperating with the school association Les Génies in Ntarama since 2016. So far, the Rwanda Guild has mainly been involved as a donor for construction measures, teaching materials and scholarships. The German students founded a coffee cooperative and now import a good thousand kilos of green coffee from Rwanda every year. The proceeds benefit the preschool and primary school in Ntarama. Over the years, a relationship has developed between the Rwanda Guild and the Rwandan School Association, in which mainly parents of pupils are involved. Personal visits by German pupils complement the intensive cooperation via online channels.
For the school awareness work, the pupils of Louisenlund, in close cooperation with their teacher Hauke Nagel – who is the driving force behind the cooperation – procured an experimental kit for the subject area of renewable energies and sent it to Rwanda. The kit is aimed at pupils in grades 5 to 7, but also at adults in the school community, who can learn about this promising subject area in workshops.
Ugandan teachers for the STEM subjects mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology will teach the pupils in Ntarama about renewable energies. The chairman of the school association, Ali Ahmad Ndayisaba, is an engineer and scientist and will conduct some of the teacher training and adult education workshops himself, free of charge.
It is important to both partners that the main content, the workshops, the teaching project on photovoltaics and a committee on “photovoltaics on the school grounds” is initiated and carried out by the Rwandan side. A common vision is: The school in Nktarama can produce renewable energy itself.