Dominique Laloux has been working with INITIC for ten years installing Raspberry Pi computer labs in rural schools across Togo, and we’ve been following the story for almost as long. Now that he’s retiring from his day job, he is migrating to Togo so he can work full-time to give even more pupils the chance to gain computing skills. We caught up with him just as he gears up for the installation of a sixth Raspberry Pi lab.
Work stalled considerably during the COVID pandemic, but between January 2020 and today, INITIC still managed to accomplish all of this:
- In January 2020, just a few weeks before restrictions came into force, INITIC completed the installation of a computer lab at CEG Middle School in Danyi Dzogbegan.
- In December 2020, INITIC re-launched preparations for the computer lab at Lycée des Deux Nyogbo in Agou Nyogbo. They completed that lab in the summer of 2021, and an Arduino workshop (pictured below) ran successfully from the new facility.
- They made several improvements to the lab at Kuma Tokpli. As well as building work to improve things like guttering and storage, 25 Raspberry Pi 4 Model B units arrived to upgrade each workstation.
Dominique and the team at INITIC put a lot of effort into maintaining and upgrading the equipment at established sites, such as Kuma Tokpli, and it’s one of the things that has impressed us for as long as we’ve been aware of their work. They take care to make sure communities are getting the most out of their resources, long after successful installations. The Kuma Tokpli site is home to the very first Raspberry Pi computer lab. We wrote about it way back in 2014 after Dominique had got in touch the previous year to tell us of his tentative plans to spend a year working with teachers in the region.
Now that Dominique will have more time to devote to computing education in Togo, he hopes to be able to use Raspberry Pi computers to introduce ICT to many more schools.
INITIC’s sixth Raspberry Pi lab will be installed at Lycée d’Assahoun next month. The aim is to install a new lab in a different school every year, with each lab costing €6500-€7000 to build. As long as the school is able to provide a well ventilated and reasonably secure room, Dominique’s team can come in to take care of flooring, electricity, wireless connectivity, furniture, and Raspberry Pi hardware for each workstation.
The team has successfully demonstrated over the last ten years that Raspberry Pi is an efficient, reliable alternative to more expensive and fragile systems such as laptops. They’d like to roll out this installation model on a wider scale if they can obtain funding.
It has been a joy to watch more INITIC labs popping up over the past decade. If you’d like to support their work, their website has information (in French) about how you can donate to INITIC. You can also get in touch with Dominique directly by email to [email protected] if you want to help.
We’re already looking forward to the next update!