LOKOLE: EMAIL FOR ALL
Lokole is our custom device to bring affordable emails to rural communities
Like the UN Sustainable Development Goals 9: industry, innovation and infrastructures, we believe that emails can speed up the process of local development by improving education, health services and economic opportunities
Hi, I’m Nzola Swasisa but please call me Nzola. I was born and raised in the DRC and in 2010 I founded Ascoderu: our canadian-congolese NGO. Click to read more.
I’m Nzola Swasisa, and I was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Because of my passion for technology, at a young age I started taking electronics communications courses. Since then, I built an entire academic and working career in the field. For 19 years I worked for the Christian organization Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in 6 different countries; DRC, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.
While working at MAF, I became aware of the lack of telecommunication infrastructures in rural communities and I begun to refurbish old radio communications to help establish new communication systems.
In the late 90’s, I started implementing a radio email system which consisted of sending emails via radio waves. When cell phones then became popular in Africa, I decided to build an offline mobile email server.
Between 2013-15 I went to Kinshasa in order to test REC (Remote Email Center) and the proof-of-concept led to Lokole. Click to read more.
In 2010, I registered Ascoderu as a not for profit NGO in Canada and in the DRC with the mission to create a web and email networking service for the communities living in the remote areas of Africa.
Between 2010-15, I worked together with Jason Cobham to built the first prototype of the offline mobile email server, which we called REC (Remote Email Center).
In 2013 and 2015 I traveled to Kinshasa to test REC and I realized two things:
- REC was a successful proof-of-concept and the targeted people validated the value of the service
- REC wasn’t reliable nor user friendly enough for production.
Since 2015, Julia Grav and Mike Maloney joined my effort in order to modify and improve REC. Together we came to the conclusion that, in order to improve reliability and accessibility, a second generation prototype of our device needed to be built.
In 2016 Clemens Wolff (a Microsoft software engineer) and Laura Barluzzi (international development master) also joined our efforts and with their help in January 2017 our second generation prototype was born. We call it LOKOLE.
Lokole was one of the 10 finalists for the 2017 prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa, an initiative by the Swiss-based African Innovation Foundation which promotes ingenuity on the continent.
In August 2017 the Lokole project won the Hack for Africa global category within all of Microsoft and placed third in Hack for Good, an Executive Challenge set by Microsoft President, Brad Smith. More than 200 Microsoft Vancouver employees participated in that year’s Global Hackathon event.
|Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (4GB) + AC 5V 3A charger||$100|
|32GB Samsung EVO+ MicroSD Card (Class 10)||$20|
|RAVPower Portable Charger 16750mAh External Battery Power Bank||$42|
|Huawei USB Modem MS2131 is a quad-band HSPA+ modem||$65|
|Cable Matters Right Angle USB Cable, 6 Inches - 90 Degree USB to Micro USB Cable||$8|
|Rotating and Swivel Twist USB 2.0 Type A Male to Type A Female 360 Degree Rotation||$11|
|US Cellular 4G LTE SIM Card for Cellphone (3-in-1 Universal Size)||$20|
|Total upgrades cost||$266|
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