Inveneo uses ASUS EeeBox PCs coupled with solar panels to bridge the information gap for students and orphans in rural Ghana


    More than 2 billion people in the developing world live in rural and remote communities that lack basic access to information and communications technologies such as telephones, computers, and Internet access. Access to these technologies, directly or via service organizations, can improve their lives in simple yet profound ways. According to the World Bank, "Where broadband has been introduced in rural areas of developing countries, villagers and farmers have gained better access to crop market prices, training and job opportunities."

    Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to bring the tools of information and communications technology (ICT) to highly underserved communities in the developing world. Providing these communities with tools of technology brings them vital information along with economic opportunities that can lead to a sustainable improvement in their living standards. By the end of 2009, Inveneo and its partners will have brought access to life-changing ICTs to more than 1,000,000 people in rural and underserved areas of the developing world. Inveneo has used ASUS products in most of their recent projects, including building a computer center for Good Shepherd Orphanage in rural Ghana."

    The Problem

    In Kasoa, Ghana, east of Accra, sits the Good Shepherd Orphanage. This is where Students Bridging the Information Gap (SBIG) chose to build a computer lab and library complex for the 450 students and orphans who live and learn there. SBIG believes that in order to prosper in the increasingly technology driven economy, every child should be given the opportunity to learn and develop his or her skills in the field. But implementing a computer installation in rural Ghana is not as simple as it would be in the developed world. 90% of the people in rural countries like Ghana have no reliable power connection from a grid. A huge part of the real cost of trying to use communications that rely on electricity is the cost of the power system that supports it. The solar panels needed to power a computer system "off the grid" can account for roughly 50% to 75% of a computer station's total cost. The more power a system requires to operate, the more solar panels are required. What this means is that not just any computer system is suitable for duty in rural Ghana. The system must be extremely power efficient, and must be of the highest build quality - both tech support and replacement models are hard to come by.

    The Solution

    Working with Inveneo Certified ICT Partner (ICIP) One Village Foundation, SBIG chose 18 ASUS EeeBox B202 computers to install with Inveneo low-power monitors, an Inveneo hub server R3, and an Ubiquiti nano station for internal WiFi. The EeeBoxes require only 20 Watts of power and can be mounted onto the back of most LCD monitors. They run at a whisper quiet 26dB, and deliver rich Internet and office computing. Kristin Peterson, CEO and Cofounder of Inveneo says, "For computer installations in rural and under-served areas in developing countries, it's extremely important to use affordable, highly reliable devices with low-power consumption. We use and recommend ASUS products for their quality, strong performance to power ratio and their low cost." The Good Shepherd computer center officially opened with a dedication ceremony on June 13, 2009. Five students from the school, as well as members of the SBIG board of trustees, founder Bishop Kweku Addei, and other local dignitaries were in attendance. The photographs of the installation are courtesy of One Village Foundation.

    The Product

    The EeeBox PC B202 is a 1L-sized mini desktop PC powered by Intel Atom processors, Since it only requires around 20 watts of power, carbon footprint is reduced by 90% compared to a standard PC. The EeeBox PC comes with built-in 802.11n WLAN to keep you connected to the internet, and with a slim design and VESA 75/100 standard mount supported, EeeBox PC B202 allows an array of space saving options.