By 14 June 2024 | Categories: news


A  newly launched Solar Community Hub in Newland is taking direct aim at bridging the digital divide and offering underserved communities greater access to the digital economy.  

Dell Technologies, in partnership with Computer Aid International, CDW and Small Projects Foundation, has launched a new Solar Community Hub in Newlands, South Africa, to connect underserved communities with access to technology, enable skill development and increase community capacity building.  

The Solar Community Hubs will help community members learn about STEM careers and develop critical skills needed to participate in the digital economy. In the just-launched Newlands hub, additional services also provide increased access to economic opportunities and healthcare. 

Dell Technologies explained that fixed hubs have an increased footprint for community support, networking and capacity to support remote areas. They are made of two recycled shipping containers transformed into a well-lit, well-ventilated internet centre. Fixed hubs are powered by solar power, to run energy-efficient desktops, Latitude Rugged notebooks and air-cooled servers.

 “The Newlands Hub demonstrates our combined commitment and investment to support end-to-end growth for the community,” commented Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa.

The company’s support of hubs is not new, having spanned thirteen years, but it is far reaching. It has reached over 2.48 million students and community members in countries across the world, including Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, India, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa. The Newlands facility brings the current number of hubs to 49 and is the 14th in South Africa.

Digitising the Region

We have often heard about the digital divide and the necessity of bridging the gap, between those who do enjoy access to the digital era, and those who have yet to be given the opportunity.  

The Solar Community hubs are a prime example of that bridge, offering residents of Newlands can access to electricity, healthcare and resources for environmental preservation available in the hub. It also combines digital literacy offerings with new services based on the community’s needs, bringing digital tools like desktops, laptops, servers, projectors, and Wi-Fi to community members.

Additional programmes combat HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, support mothers to raise healthy children, provide support over the first two years of a child’s life, and establish growing gardens to help provide nutritious meals to children.

The impact of the solar community hub has some personal tones too - community members previously faced with making tough decisions to either travel far distances to get modern services or forgo their studies will now have the access they need to take education and vocational courses and prepare for the job market.

This opens the doors for new career opportunities for community members previously hindered by a lack of public access to the internet.

New Solar Community Hub in a nutshell:    

·       Designed with two connected recycled shipping containers to provide more space and accommodate more local community members and their needs.  

·       Job creation and greater financial sustainability with new revenue-generating services in community service in the health, education and social care sectors. Small Projects Foundation also supports young women and girls to from the whole province to complete school, study further and find employment opportunities.  

·       Help to educate participants in basic computer skills while learning essential life skills like entrepreneurship, résumé building, university and scholarship applications, job search skills and career guidance.  

·       Computer literacy classes are provided to Grade 6 and 7 learners from the local primary schools, ensuring they are computer literate by the time they advance to secondary school. Thirty Youth Service Ambassadors are undergoing computer five-day computer literacy training and are supported by a highly-skilled Solar Hub Supervisor.

·       Leverages a community-first approach to customise service and product offerings, including education, an HIV Prevention Programme, a Moms Mentorship Programme, an Early Childhood Development Programme and the Umbono Project, which identifies children with vision problems and provides spectacles.  

·       The hub is a community centre managed by the community, ensuring more value and social validation.  

·       Built with Dell technology-enabled solutions.

 “The development of this computer lab marks a significant leap towards enhancing educational opportunities and bridging the digital divide. As someone from the Eastern Cape, I know the incredible impact this initiative will have on young lives in the community,” enthused Zimasa Jmsana, Coworker Success Business Partner for CDW UK&I – South Africa Shared Services Centre

“We’re excited to continue our digital access mission through the introduction of this Hub, serving as a necessary step in fostering community well-being in tandem with sustainable, long-term growth,” concluded Woolley.


Magazine Online is South Africa's leading magazine for tech product reviews, tech news, videos, tech specs and gadgets.
Start reading now >
Download latest issue

Have Your Say

What new tech or developments are you most anticipating this year?
New smartphone announcements (44 votes)
Technological breakthroughs (28 votes)
Launch of new consoles, or notebooks (14 votes)
Innovative Artificial Intelligence solutions (28 votes)
Biotechnology or medical advancements (21 votes)
Better business applications (132 votes)