Media 17 January 2017

Spotlight on education: solar backpack enables children to do their homework

solarpak

After a school day – and often enough a long commute to and from school – children in Côte d’Ivoire don’t have much time left to do their homework. Depending on the season, sometimes only one hour of sunlight remains until night falls and they have to rely on artificial light sources to help them study. But many rural and remote communities are not connected to the power supply and so children are left with no possibilities to look in their books. Alternative light sources, such as petrol lamps, are often monopolized by the parents for household tasks.

Ivorian Evariste Akoumian decided to help out children in his country with a simple and smart gadget: the Solar Pak. During daytime, the backpack carried by the children on their way to school charges its battery through a built-in solar pannel. Back home, they can plug a compact but bright lamp to the battery and do their homework despite the lack of electricity in their communities – lasting up to four or five hours.

Solar Pak is currently Akoumian’s personal project and he is looking for sponsors and partners who can help produce the backpacks. He recently sat down with the International Cocoa Initiative to discuss partnering up to help children do their homework in remote cocoa communities – we’ll keep you posted about the outcome of our meeting.