The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East is celebrating the realization of their goal to restore information technologies to 23 schools in Dominica.   Our Rotary Club partnered with host club, the Rotary Club of Portsmouth (Dominica), the Rotary Club of Bracebridge (Ontario) and the IT for Dominica Foundation on this Global Grant funded project.   The need for this project arose after Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane, caused wide spread damage to Dominica in 2017.  This damaged included the destruction of almost all of the computers and much of the libraries in Dominican schools. 
A donation of more than 1700 used Chromebook computers and other pieces of technical equipment was secured by the IT for Dominica Foundation from partners in Alberta, Canada.  The new value of the donated equipment (Chromebooks, switches, wireless access points, projectors, cables, weather safe cases, transport, and installations) is in excess of $1.5 million CAD ($3 million ECD, $1.1 million USD). Current/used value estimate 1 million CAD ($2 million ECD, 0.76 million USD).  The transportation of this donated equipment, the C Can, tools, Vocational Training Team (VTT) expenses and additional hardware created a budget of over $142,000 Canadian dollars.  These funds came primarily from Rotary Club donations that were generously matched by the Government of Canada program and The Rotary Foundation.  
From November 11 to November 22, the team worked in schools across the island.  The team included Hans Schilders and Lise Van de Kamp from the Rotary Club of Portsmouth, Andrew Bronson from the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, as well as Dr. Maurice Hollingsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Co-Founder and President and the VTT technical team from Alberta, Canada. This all volunteer team included Jason Yaremchuk, Director of Technology from Northern Gateway Public Schools, Chris Sluggett, Lead Network Analyst from Wolf Creek Public Schools, Jake Cameron, Systems Support Specialist from the University of Lethbridge and Chris Hollingsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Fundraising Committee Chairperson.  Their efforts were fully supported by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in Dominica and their technical team led by ICT Coordinator, Timothy Lavinier.
The following video shows students in Dominica using the Chromebooks for the first time.  It was amazing to see how quickly the students adopted this technology.  The third clip in this video shows Chromebooks in use in a high school chemistry class.  This occurred just minutes after the wireless access points  and Chromebooks were installed at the Dominica Community High School.  
Rotary Volunteers Packing Chromebooks in Lethbridge                 1,760 Donated Chromebooks   
                         VTT volunteers Chris Sluggett (left) and Jason Yaremchuk (far right) train ITC staff
      Timothy Lavinier and his staff worked alongside the VTT installing wireless access points in classrooms
Timothy Lavinier, ICT Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Commonwealth of Dominica explains how the project went in the video below.  Timothy refers to 21 schools.  There were 21 Primary Schools completed, 1 High School and the Dominican Teachers Association office (for training purposes).  
In the following video, Kimani Giraudel, principal of Bagatelle Primary School explains the importance of internet based learning technologies in schools.  
In the next video, VTT volunteer Jason Yaremchuk, Director of Technology from Northern Gateway Public Schools explains his reasons for volunteering and his enthusiasm for this project.  
IT for Dominica has an almost 20-year history, working with the Ministry of Education, schools and teachers on the island providing technology focused professional development through their Summer Institutes. The selection process involved schools completing a comprehensive online application.  Each school was also asked to participate in a Community Needs Assessment, gathering input from stakeholders including students, teachers and parents.  In total 38 schools (29 primary and 9 secondary) completed the online application.  Of those, 23 also completed the Community Needs Assessment. The information received in each application was carefully considered with a focus on identified needs and the plans each school shared for using the new technologies to improve teaching and learning.  Twenty-three schools were selected to receive learning technology installations as part of the IT for Dominica Foundation/Rotary Global Grant partnership. Each school received Chromebooks, weather safe case(s) for storage - particularly in the event of severe weather - one or more digital projectors, wireless access points, switch(es), and power bars for charging.

The Canadian team left Dominica on November 23rd, and leaves behind installations in 20 primary schools as well as at CALLS, an alternative school for at-risk youth in Portsmouth.  Two primary schools that successfully applied are scheduled for major reconstruction and will be cabled and networked once this work is complete.  Technologies were also provided to the Dominica Association of Teachers.  These will be used to support teachers island wide as they work to develop skills and access resources to serve higher level learning in their schools. In addition, technologies were provided to Dominica Community High School in recognition of their ongoing support for the work of the IT for Dominica Foundation and as a trial program that will help the foundation explore the use of Chromebooks at the high school level.  The foundation has a three-year plan to replace learning technologies in all schools on the island that still need them. Their work over the next year will focus on raising the funds necessary to install technologies in more schools in November of 2020.  IT for Dominica and the Rotary Clubs of Lethbridge East and Portsmouth plan to team up again and complete the installation of Chromebooks in all the primary schools in a Phase 2 Global Grant.  
In addition, the IT for Dominica Summer Institute offering professional development to Dominican teachers, is scheduled for July. This year will mark the eighteenth time that teams of volunteer Alberta teachers have travelled to Dominica to offer summer courses. More information on the foundation, its history and its work in Dominica can be found online at
The Rotary Club of Portsmouth, DM is the younger one of the two Rotary Clubs in Dominica (Rotary Club of Dominica, Roseau celebrates 45 years). It’s 21 members, of which 6 live off-island, are still very active with recovery projects post Hurricane Maria. Next to the 23 schools mentioned above they have provided learning technologies to 4 more primary schools and a secondary school. They have also donated new roofs, fish pots, water filters, and various donations to primary schools. The RCP Recycle Project was created together with Recycle Rebuild SCIO from Scotland, and currently the club is preparing a diabetes awareness project for the Portsmouth region.
The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East was very pleased to participate in this project.  Our 28 members of our 59 year old club fund raise in Lethbridge through our Rotary Roses, Dragonboat Festival and Agricultural Scholarship projects.  Funds for this project were then matched by our Rotary District 5360, the Government of Canada and The Rotary Foundation .  We are looking forward to participating in the next phase of this project in 2020.  The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East would like to thank the Rotary Club of Bracebridge for their financial support.  Our club is looking for other Rotary Clubs that would like to participate in the Phase 2 of this project in 2020 including clubs in District 5360 that could be Type C Global Grant participants.  Please contact Andrew Bronson for further information.