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Home Startups Kenya’s Stonehouse To launch Solar-Powered Education Computer Lab In A Container

Kenya’s Stonehouse To launch Solar-Powered Education Computer Lab In A Container

by Sam Wakoba
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solar-classroomMartin Muckle, the founder of Kenya’s Stonehouse, a Nairobi based company with exclusive distributorship for the UK designed and built Aleutia computer is set to launch the EBOKS, an ‘all-in-one’ solar-powered education computer lab in a container.
The EBOKS is to be morphed into a GOBOKS for remote government offices, a COPBOKS for police posts, a POBOKS for post offices and a +BOKS for health centres.
The firm also plans to move towards local assembly of the solar-powered computers which are designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble so make ideal candidates for Kenya’s first commercial computer assembly project.

Speaking to TechMoran, Muckle said “Stonehouse Ltd believes that the answer to environmental problems is not to simply stop doing the things that are neccessary for modern life but to use technology to find ways of doing those things in such a way as to reduce, neutralise, or even reverse the environmental impact.”

The firm is therefore concentrating on the provision of a computer that is specifically designed for Africa in that it is dust and heat proof, reliable, low and easy maintenance but, most importantly, use only 20% of the energy required by ‘normal’ desktops. 

According to Muckle, “This massive reduction in energy consumption makes the systems ideal for solar-powered environments as so much less investment is needed for the solar systems.  They run equally well on generator or mains where the power saving feature lead directly to lower running costs.”

Stonehouse Ltd was launched in Oct 2011 and have spent their time settling in to the local market, experimenting and fine-tuning.  They now have an educational package based on a thin client network loaded with open source software from English, Maths, Science to typing and computer coding. 

Their systems are ideal for rural schools, community and training centres.

Muckle, a teacher by training has taught IT and Science to middle school, GCSE and A level for long. His experience helps him understand the requirements of IT in schools from a teaching and learning perspective.

He added that his 40+ years of life in West, North and East Africa on the trail of his UN-employed agricultural engineer Father have given him an understanding of what kinds of technology work in the African environment and why. Martin is keen to promote the increased use of IT in Kenyan schools and approaches the difficulties in a very practical, problem-solving manner.

He was inspired by the need to help locals create local solutions.

“At the highest ideal the idea that somewhere out there is a Kenyan kid who can find a cure for cancer but is held back for want of access to information,” he said, adding that,” At the other end the idea that simply learning to write an email may break the poverty cycle that many children are stuck in.”

Muckle’s biggest challenge is introducing new technology into a conservative and well protected technology environment. He says he is yet to see a computer tender where energy consumption is mentioned in the required specifications.  However, progress is being made by no longer trying to convert ‘stick in the muds’ but finding those people who have already bought into the energy vision and recognise the value of the Aleutia technology. 

 

His vision did not start yesterday. In 1976, Muckle arrived in Kenya as a ten year old boy. “It would be easy to say circumstance but fate has probably had more to do with it, he says.  On arrival he recognised Kenya as the most beautiful country in the whole wide world.  And as fate would have it, Kenya is also rapidly becoming the African tech hub so all the pieces are falling into place.

Armed with a 12 months of angel investment, Muckle wants to put solar-powered computers in our offices and homes.

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