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About Us

Powering Potential is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances education by installing solar-powered computers, digital libraries and providing training in remote villages in Tanzania and the Peruvian Amazon.

Our Mission

We use technology to enhance education and stimulate imaginations for learners in developing countries while respecting and incorporating values of the local culture.

Our Vision

Our vision is all learners in developing countries experiencing the joys of technology and fulfilling their potential as global citizens.

The Problem

Lack of electricity. Lack of textbooks. Lack of teachers. Lack of opportunities. In Tanzania, almost half of the population is under the age of 15 and the majority of this group live in rural areas with extremely limited educational opportunities. Many schools operate with barebones funding, staffed by underpaid teachers with access to few textbooks. There are few alternative learning solutions for “self study” that provide the quality educational content necessary for students to do well in their national exams and beyond.

In the Peruvian Amazon, an area that is severely underdeveloped, we work in Belén, Iquitos, a region often called “the floating city.” Most of its 65,00 inhabitants live in homes constructed from basic materials that are on stilts or built to float on the river. There is little to no technology and dwellings often lack basic services, such as  electricity and indoor plumbing.

The Solution

Powering Potential has designed an innovative, practical, affordable solution that effectively addresses a multitude of problems: lack of electricity, no computers, out-dated educational materials, few teachers and harsh climates.

We use solar power, energy efficient Raspberry Pi computers which are suitable for the local climate, open source (free) software, offline digital educational materials including subject-based textbooks, and provide technology training.

How we began

Powering Potential was founded in 2006 by Janice Lathen, an American entrepreneur and computer consultant. During a safari to Tanzania, she introduced herself to students in Swahili. Their exuberant and heartfelt response inspired her to bring the opportunities of technology to their school by designing, funding and implementing a pilot project in one rural district in the Arusha region in 2007.

When she learned that there was a 500% increase in the number of students who transferred into that school (even more requested a transfer), she initiated an effort to implement computer labs in other schools in the district. We have since received multiple requests from other schools throughout Tanzania and other countries for our Solar Powered Access to Raspberry Computing (SPARC) program.

Powering Potential Founder Janice Lathan on Safari in 2006
Teacher and students looking at a computer monitor

Support Our Efforts

$500 buys a projector  •  $200 buys a complete computer unit  •  $100 buys a solar panel •   $10 buys a keyboard 

Will you join us?