BENEFITING: Community Empowerment Network
The Suruacá School Electrification Expansion Project aims to increase the amount of electricity generated at the sole school in the isolated community of Suruacá, located on the western shore of the Tapajós River in the Brazilian Amazon. This electricity will be used to power additional laptop computers and a freezer.
The availability of information and communication technology (ICT) in the community has helped it overcome its isolation and improve the quality of education available to its youth. It has done this by allowing teachers to make their classes more interesting by supplementing their teaching materials and by nurturing students' curiosity and problem-solving skills through access to a wealth of information far beyond what is available in the few textbooks they have. Because of this, demand for use of the laptops by students and school staff far exceeds the capacity the current computers can meet.
Like many other rural communities in the Brazilian Amazon, the community of Suruacá, is not connected to the regional electrical grid. Due to its isolation, there's little likelihood of this occurring anytime soon. As a result, the school has a small photovoltaic system used to charge its existing laptops. While the school has secured five more laptops to meet demand, the existing photovoltaic system does not have sufficient capacity to run the new machines.
This project will allow for the installation and use of five more laptops in the school, which will provide students and teachers with increased access to information and support for research and curriculum development. The electricity will also be used to power a freezer necessary to store food for a school lunch program, giving students access to nutritious lunches and two daily snacks, which will improve child nutrition in the area.