The SolarSPELL Initiative and the U.S. Peace Corps

Background

The SolarSPELL initiative, alongside the Peace Corps, is confronting the realities of low-resource contexts by leveraging innovative technology, providing locally-relevant educational libraries, and building critical digital and information literacies.

Since 2015, SolarSPELL has worked with the Peace Corps — an organization with 60 years of development experience across 60+ countries. Working with the Peace Corps has proven the most effective implementation strategy for introducing, supporting, and expanding SolarSPELL digital libraries across remote and rural locations. Our train-the-trainer model empowers both Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and their local counterparts to foster skills-development in their schools and communities, as well as long-term, sustainable use of SolarSPELL libraries. Impact evaluation conducted on-site provides compelling evidence that PCVs play an invaluable role in introducing SolarSPELL libraries to their communities. Furthermore, both PCVs and their local counterparts overwhelmingly report an increased ability to effectively do their jobs with the use of the SolarSPELL library. 

Using this model, we currently have 365 libraries in 8 countries across the Pacific Islands and East Africa. As of May 2020, SolarSPELL and the Peace Corps have signed a Global Strategic Partnership that will enable rapid expansion of SolarSPELL libraries in additional Peace Corps countries around the world and meet urgent needs in remote, rural, offline communities globally.

New Countries and Implementation

For each new country, the SolarSPELL digital library will be localized to ensure content is regionally relevant. Upon completion of content curation, the SolarSPELL team will train Peace Corps Volunteers and local counterparts, who bring the libraries back to their home communities. The SolarSPELL team aims to return yearly to carry out training with a new cohort of volunteers and local counterparts, as well as conduct impact evaluation at that time. Updated and improved versions of the library, based upon feedback from PCVs and local users, will be provided upon return visits.  

We are currently targeting the following regions:
1. East Africa
2. Southern Africa
3. West Africa
4. Central America & the Caribbean
5. South East Asia.

However, we would still like to hear from all posts that are interested in working with SolarSPELL.

Bring SolarSPELL to Your Post

If you are a Peace Corps Country Director, Peace Corps Director of Programming and Training, or other Peace Corps country staff, and you are ready to learn more about bringing the SolarSPELL initiative to your post, please fill out this form. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you are a Peace Corps Volunteer interested in using SolarSPELL, please express your interest to your in-country Peace Corps staff and direct them to this page on our website.

Peace Corps and ASU SolarSPELL Global Strategic Partnership Celebration Highlights

On Friday, July 10, we held the ASU SolarSPELL and Peace Corps Strategic Partnership Event. This was a celebration of our transformative partnership, and we are happy to share this video featuring some of the event highlights.

With our Global Strategic Partnership, ASU SolarSPELL and the Peace Corps will support quality education and meet the needs of learners in remote, offline communities globally. We hope you’ll continue to follow the work we do together to build the capacities of local communities around the world.

“The SolarSPELL has made me more effective as a Peace Corps Volunteer because of the various resources that I now have at my disposal. There’s so much more that I can do with the SolarSPELL than I could do with just outdated textbooks and various handmade materials.”

Patrick
Peace Corps Volunteer