The WISE Awards

Lights to Learn

Activity: Promoting quality education and community development in rural and marginalized areas of Latin America

Name of the Organization: Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI)

Headquarter: Spain

Geographical reach: Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay)

Number of beneficiaries: 25,934 primary pupils, 1,197 teachers and 556 rural schools

Project Representative: Mr. Paulo Speller


Lights to learn WISE Awards 2017

About the Project

Lights to Learn is a joint public-private sector effort in education, energy and ICTs. The project brings together five components:

  1. It provides electricity through the installation of photovoltaic solar systems.
  2. It offers Internet and IT equipment to the community’s schools.
  3. Teacher training.
  4. Community development.
  5. Sustainability via basic training provided to members of the community who use photovoltaic solar systems and connectivity
Context and Issue

Around 60,000 schools have been listed as deprived of electricity in Latin American countries where the project was implemented. They are located in rural communities historically left behind in technological advances.

The Solution and Impact

Lights to Learn responds to the OEI’s commitment to the right to quality education in the region. Through this project, OEI seeks to promote access to quality education and contribute to the strengthening of Latin American democracies. Using electricity and ICTs in the classroom to provide better education and to extend the school day, the project also offers technical and vocational education to illiterate adults.

The starting point of Lights to Learn was providing a multi-stakeholder solution to tackle the problem of access to quality education and to appropriate infrastructure in rural areas. The project, supported by the ministers of education of each participating country, has been adapted to their needs taking into account their institutional, legal and social context.

Main impacts of the project are the following:

1. The creation of an ‘Implementation Model’ systematized in phases and implemented in 556 schools in 11 Latin American countries. This model describes milestones and essential components that guarantee program success, minimizing and mitigating risks.  It represents a contribution to international cooperation initiatives and also to Latin American government policies.

2. The premiere and broadcast of a short film called ‘Bienvenidos’ inspired by the project has won 78 awards at international film festivals. Moreover, the short film is a pedagogical tool to reach more children, teachers and society in general, to raise awareness and to make known education resources in rural areas of Latin American countries. OEI in collaboration with the Regional Government of Aragon (Spain) has developed two didactic guides, for primary and for secondary education level, with the objective of working with students on different topics such as education, children's rights, new technologies and audiovisual literacy.

3. Lights to Learn is being implemented in other countries of other continents. Starting in 2017, it will be implemented in Mozambique with the collaboration of ‘Ayuda en Acción’, a Spanish NGO.

Future Developments

Future objectives are focused on extending the project in the 13 countries where it has been implemented and transferring the experience in the short run to more countries.

In addition, it is envisaged that the Ibero-American countries may apply the didactic guide about  the short film ‘Bienvenidos’ with their studies and develop new pedagogical guides.