BeaconPack is Taking STEM Education to Ghana’s Remotest Region
In July 2013, Community Technology Alliance (CTA) CEO Jen Hoey Padgett won an award for an idea that would allow the remotest regions on earth get the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education from the backs of adventure travelers. This idea lead to her trip on board the British Airways Ungrounded flight to the United Nations Decide Now Act conference, and thus the idea of the BeaconPack team was born.
CTA has since headed the BeaconPack team organization with a mission of searching for partners and funding from parties all over the world, in order to ensure that the first deployment of the initial beacon-in-a-backpack occurs in spring of 2014. The first destination of this initiative will be in Nsuta-Aweregya, a remote village located about 3.5 hours outside Accra the capital of Ghana. Nsuta-Aweregya has a residence of about 30,000 people who are completely shut-off from the rest of the world as far as cell phone and internet services is concerned.
This brings about a very obvious limitation for the Nsuta-Aweregya residence especially in terms of education and economic growth of its residence. The BeaconPack initiative will be working in partnership with The Hunger Project in Nsuta-Aweregya village. Their mission in Nsuta-Aweregya will be to increase the residence’s access to ICT and promote STEM learning. This program will be headed by CTA and the BeaconPack team under the banner of BeaconPack Indiegogo campaign. Money that will be raised from this campaign will be used in buying and preparing the components for the BeaconPacks’ prototype initiative, and it is also expected to sustain the research. In addition, the testing on this prototype initiative will be conducted for a period of 6 months in Nsuta-Aweregya village.
The data and research expected to be completed in Nsuta-Aweregya will be important to the BeaconPack initiative in terms of developing models and better scales which will be used in other remote areas in the world that the initiative is planning to venture to. The BeaconPack team is also working on an app that will enable the backpackers to regularly update the information and tools stored on every beacon. I strongly encourage all readers of this article to look at the Indiegogo page to see the wonderful donation perks, which includes a British Airways sponsored round trip to Ghana. In less than 45 days, BeaconPack has set a target of receiving $50,000 in donations. One notable donation they have received so far is from Craig Newmark of Craigslist who donated $5000.
BeaconPack’s goal is to reach the children and families in Nsuta-Aweregya, Ghana in less than 3 months time. BeaconPack is a great initiative from the the good folks at Community of Technology Alliance. To donate to this worthy cause simply click on BeaconPack.