Monthly Archives: July 2013

Community Champions orientation training held

Each school has nominated a community representative via their parent teacher associations (PTAs). The role of the Community Solar Champion is to be the focal point in the community for the project and on-going sustainable operation of the power supplies and services. He/she will receive training during the project and through annual refresher training.

Today, July 30th 2013, four Community Champions from four of the five schools came to a one-day training held at Willies Solar Company facility in Honiara. An officer from the Ministry of Education’s Infrastructure Coordination Unit also attended. The objective of the training was orientation; to brief them on the project and their role in it.


The schools nominated the following people:

  • Medly Suia¬† – Aruligo
  • William Panga – Betivatu (he is also vice-chairman of the PTA)
  • Wayne Donga Sauronga – Tenakoqa
  • Paul Heti – Rate (he is an electrician)
  • Fred Ruaka – Titinge (he is also Treasurer of the school board)

The role of the Community Solar Champion is to:

  1. To represent the community in any project meetings and activities
  2. To communicate  with the community and explain project information, and respond to queries
  3. To communicate with the Management Committee and the stakeholders
  4. To monitor that obligations are fulfilled out as agreed in the School Community Agreement
  5. To carry out technical monitoring as required in the School Community Agreement
  6. To attend project training and annual refresher training
  7. To submit reports as required in the School Community Agreement

The role of Community Solar Champion requires the following attributes:

  • Someone who lives in the community
  • Someone who is trusted by the community
  • A strong and proven organiser
  • An interest in solar power and technology
  • Willingness to be trained to carry out technical tasks
  • Committed to the improvement of the community, especially the school
  • A good communicator


(Above) William Iro of Willies Solar Company shows participants some new solar power technology.

(Below), The solar village at Willies facility in Honiara.


Preliminary visit to Betivatu school

On June 6th 2013, the contractors visited Betivatu Primary School to make a preliminary assessment of the site. We were accompanied by a representative from the SSEC Education Authority, under which the school is governed.

Betivatu is situated on the east side of Honiara, behind Tenaru. It is a combined primary and secondary school on one site. The location (green arrow) and Google Earth view is shown below:



The site layout is shown below:


We were assisted by the teachers, especially the head teacher of the primary school, Emily Panate, and secondary school Principal, Phillip Kela. We briefed the teachers on the project and then walked around the school.

Shown below is the view facing west with the blue-coloured primary school main classroom blocks behind. In the picture from right, are Emily, Phillip and David Iro (Willies Solar & Electrical).


The view facing east, showing the grade 1 / home economic block and the new secondary school block, with some staff houses behind:


The primary and secondary schools work closely together on an ambitious development plan. For instance, to the right in the picture above, is the site for a second new classroom block for the secondary school, and a science lab.

The schools share two PCs and half the teachers have their own laptops. They expressed great interest in the potential of the solar power for enabling educational technology and accessing resources.

Below is the main primary classroom block. It is in good condition for solar power installation. There are two blocks, both shown below:


Closeup of the second classroom block, with storage and office rooms:


The secondary school buildings include a new Japanese-funded double block under construction:


The grade one classroom shares this building with the home economics room. The solar power may be useful for sewing machines, etc.


Inside one of the classrooms:


The other secondary school buildings, with the main office on the right:


The school has good water and sanitation with separate toilets and tanks for girls and boys. However, there is no piped supply and there are difficulties during dry periods.


Preliminary visit to Tenakoqa school

On June 3rd, 2013, the contractors team and Adventist Education officer traveled to the remotest school of the five included in the Guadalcanal phase of the project. Tenakoqa is located on the plains to the east of Tetere and is accessible along dirt roads depending on weather conditions.

The visit was made for a preliminary technical assessment, and to make contact with the school staff. The location is shown below, including the Google Earth view showing the relative location of nearby communities.



In the image above you can see the nearby Tenakoqa secondary school, separated from the primary school by a short distance to the north. The two schools have separate administrations but collaborate in many ways.

Tenakoqa Primary School has 216 students. It is unusual in that next year it will be a boarding school. It already has girls and boys dorms.

The school layout is shown below.


The classrooms are arranged in three buildings in a row as shown below. From the left, (a) the grade 3-6 classrooms, the double floor building with a kindy and office, and on right the grade 1 and 2 classroom block. The latter is in poor condition.


The senior grade classroom block is a single floor building in reasonable condition, suitale for installation of the solar power and electrical fittings.A closer look below:


Inside one of the classrooms:


The kindy and office building is shown below. This is also suitable for electrical and solar installation.


The school office is a new building, with a central office and in very good condition. Seen below:


In the layout diagram, it can be seen that the staff houses are arranged in a row on the opposite side from the classrooms. One of the better houses is shown below:


The school has water problems. There are insufficient rainwater tanks, and the site is on a ridge. Only a small spring is available for water, above the school. Toilets are not in good condition.


Preliminary visit to Rate school

Rate Primary School is a Guadalcanal Province Education Authority school located on the plains, to the east of Honiara. On May 23rd 2013, the contractors and a representative from MEHRD-ICU visited the school to make a preliminary assessment for technical reasons.

The location is shown below by the green arrow. The Google Earth view shows the position of nearby communities..



Rate is actually a combined primary and secondary (community high) school. It has one administration block and staff houses for both schools together, for the 14 teachers.

The school layout is shown below:


The primary school is in the process of being upgraded, with a new double floor classroom block with six classrooms and storage rooms under construction as shown below. This is where the solar power will be installed, as the old single floor block is now old and unsuited for electrical installations. The construction work should be completed by September.



The new and old primary classroom blocks, as photographed in May 2013.

The school office provides an excellent location to install the main solar equipment.


The team met with the teachers and we explained the project and gathered data needed for the technical design. As with Aruligo, the teachers are very aware of the potential uses of the sustainable power source for ICT – communications, computer applications and access to educational resources online. The school is within 3G coverage of both mobile networks.


The secondary school block is shown. The project will initially be focusing on basic education, but it may be possible to share some lighting with the secondary school.


The staff houses, about 9 in number, are arranged along a line on one side of the campus.


The school has had good toilets and water facilities installed, and uses mainly rainwater.




Preliminary visit to Titinge school

On 16th May 2013, the contractors team visited Titinge Primary School accompanied by Benjamin Rockson from MEHRD-ICU. The purpose was to gain an initial assessment of the school buildings and site for the technical design. Teachers were not available during the visit.

The school is a Guadalcanal Province Education Authority school. It is situated above Honiara at the location shown below, and a Google Earth image showing the relative location of nearby communities. It has good communications with 3G coverage from both networks.



The school layout is shown below: layout-tit

The school has one large double classroom block in good condition. It has four classrooms and an office on the first floor, and three classrooms and a storage room on the ground floor. The condition is suitable for the installation of solar power.


The water tanks may be powered by solar pumps, pending an engineering assessment.


There is only one permanent staff house on the school site at the moment, suitable for installation of solar power.






Preliminary visit to Aruligo school

On May 15th, the contractors team David Iro and David Leeming visited Aruligo school, accompanied by the Ministry of Education’s Infrastructure chief, Henson Makoani. The objective was to make initial contact with the school staff and do a preliminary site assessment.


Aruligo Primary School’s main classroom block is shown above. The permanent structure is very suitable for installation of the solar power. There are three classrooms on each floor. The school location in NW Guadalcanal is shown by the green arrow below.


As can be seen in the Google Earth image below, the school is located a few km from the main coastal road, with some village communities nearby. Aruligo Primary School is under the Adventist Education Authority and has about 225 students and another 30 or so in the Kindy.


The team was met by Head Teacher Caroline Atu and several members of the teaching staff. After explaining the project we inspected the school site.


Caroline Atu, Head Teacher is shown centre, with other teachers and David Iro of Willies Solar and Electrical Company is on the left. A few teachers have laptop computers, and are using social media. They are keen to develop ICT applications with the power. This is interesting, as the University of the South Pacific will be opening a campus nearby, possibly next year, and synergies may result in regard to teacher development, for instance. There is also a new mobile tower nearby, with good access including data.

The school layout is shown below:


The school has three staff houses with one additional one under construction. The picture below shows us inspecting one of the houses, in which solar power will be installed.


The school staff room is in the single block seen below. Power will be run across to it from the double block.


Finally, one aim of the project is to coordinate with UNICEF’s water and sanitation (WASH) programme. In the case of Aruligo, the Rotary Club of Solomon Islands has been installing some good quality toilets as shown below. Where possible, we will coordinate on power for lights, pumps etc.