PUG takes sustainability very seriously. It’s why we use solar power, why we foster cooperative relationships with hospitals and communities, and it’s why education is so important. Our projects need a knowledge infrastructure in order to be sustained over the long run. We’ve been successful thanks to our partnerships with local Gambians, but the lack of sophisticated technical support in-country has been a recurring challenge. That’s all about to change. In partnership with The Gambian Technical Training Institute (GTTI) and Solar Energy International (SEI), Power Up Gambia is developing a curriculum for solar energy systems technical training at GTTI.
Where: The Gambian Technical Training Institute (GTTI) in Banjul, The Gambia
When: October 2012—June 2013
How: Our project is divided up into three phases.
1) The Initial Phase consists of “training the trainers”. Two GTTI instructors, Baboucarr Njie and James Gomez, are currently enrolled in SEI’s online training courses. In addition to gaining a technical understanding of photovoltaic (PV) systems, Njie and Gomez will review the SEI curriculum to determine if it is an appropriate fit for their own students. The online training has been funded by a grant from the International Foundation, and it is midway through completion.
2) The Second Phase consists of a “hands-on” two week workshop on PV installation held at the GTTI facility in Kanifing, The Gambia. Participants in the workshop would be selected from GTTI staff, students, and hospital maintenance staff who work with PUG-sponsored PV systems at their respective hospitals. Two SEI solar-certified instructors would run the workshop, while the two trained GTTI instructors would co-teach and help with translation and logistics. This would allow the GTTI instructors to gain experience teaching the course to Gambian students while under the supervision of the SEI instructors. By the end of the workshop, two types of PV systems would be built to be used in future classes. This second phase, therefore, is crucial and accomplishes three major objectives. It provides 1) further training to the GTTI instructors in the SEI curriculum, 2) training to hospital maintenance staff who currently work on PUG sponsored solar power systems, and 3) two demonstration solar power systems to be maintained at GTTI for the use of future students in the renewable energy curriculum. This Second Phase is tentatively scheduled for August 2012 and PUG is currently seeking funding for this project.
3) The Third Phase consists of licensing the use of the SEI curriculum materials for a GTTI-run technical training program, followed by student evaluation and critique of the course. PUG would provide the GTTI students with materials to construct other small PV systems that PUG would then help place, at the end of the course, in small rural clinics to provide light and electricity. In this way, students would have the opportunity not only to learn how to build PV systems, but also to see the real benefits of their work in rural community clinics, providing a sense of pride and accomplishment. This Third Phase is tentatively scheduled for October 2012 through June 2013 and PUG is currently seeking funding for this project.