By Coreen Walsh

While the SolarSPELL team has hosted previous virtual trainings, we are excited to share that we facilitated our first overnight virtual train-the-trainer training with UNHCR in Ethiopia! Of course, it was daytime in Ethiopia, where our participants were joining from.

After a long journey, the 60 SolarSPELL digital libraries arrived at their destinations in the Gambella and Assosa refugee camps, which meant we could now host the training with approximately 15 teacher-trainers in-the-field.

Overall, the training was a success. Our team logged on to the call in shifts to cover content including: a history and overview of the SolarSPELL initiative; training on the digital library hardware and maintenance; how to connect to the digital library and explore the content; train-the-trainer responsibilities and how to utilize the Offline Training Course; and an overview of the Learning Through Play module created specifically for this project.

At the end of the training, we asked participants to share what they think the value of SolarSPELL will be in their communities. They had many positive things to say, including how valuable they believe the SolarSPELL library will be in putting more resources into the hands of educators and students and creating new opportunities for learning.

In the contexts where they work, there are severe shortages of textbooks. The SolarSPELL library provides digital access to the Ethiopian textbooks as well as to thousands of additional educational resources. The participants expressed that SolarSPELL addresses the issues they face (including lack of power and connectivity) and will help ensure the continuity of teaching and learning, even during circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The newly-trained SolarSPELL trainers expect to begin training teachers and introducing the digital libraries in refugee camp schools over the next couple of weeks. We can’t wait to hear more about the impact of SolarSPELL libraries in these communities!