Powering Potential

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Powering Potential Inc.
MottoEducating Through Technology
HeadquartersNew York, New York
Key people
  • Janice Lathen, Founding Director, President
  • Albin Mathias, Country Director, Tanzania

Powering Potential Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides public co-ed schools in developing countries with solar-powered computer labs, open source software, offline digital libraries, and provides training. Its headquarters are located in New York, New York.

History and Milestones[edit]

His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, viewing the Powering Potential exhibit at the annual Education Week in Dodoma, Tanzanian on May 20th, 2015.

American entrepreneur Janice Lathen founded Powering Potential in 2006 after visiting the Banjika Secondary School in Karatu, Tanzania. After introducing herself to the students in Swahili, she was overwhelmed by the students' expression of appreciation.[1]

In December 2010, the US Embassy in Tanzania and Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt awarded Powering Potential with a grant of 8,600,000 Tsh (~$5,800).[1]

In 2011, Janice Lathen met with Tanzanian Ambassador to the US Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Minister of State Stephen Wasira, former Director of Information at the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology Theophilus E. Mlaki, Tanzanian Minister of Education Shukuru Kawambwa, and the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete.

In 2012, Powering Potential received a grant of 13,517,874 Tsh (~$8,534) from the Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency.

In 2013, Powering Potential presented to the Tanzanian Mission to the UN (Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzanian to the United Nations). Powering Potential received a grant from Tanzanian Postal Bank and the Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency.

In 2014, Powering Potential was invited by Tanzanian Ministry of Education to participate in the country's first Education Week in Dodoma, Tanzania, where they presented their project to the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mizengo Pinda.

In 2015, Powering Potential received a $56,000 grant from Raspberry Pi Foundation, which was matched by the Segal Family Foundation. In May 2015, Powering Potential took part in Tanzania's second Education Week. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the time, visited the Powering Potential exhibit, saying, "Kazi nzuri! Hii ni tekinolojia tunayohitaji vijijini." "Good work! This is the technology which we need for the rural areas." In November 2015, founder Janice Lathen presented to an audience of 300 at the annual Defrag Technology Conference in Colorado.

In March 2016, Powering Potential celebrated its ten-year anniversary. In October 2016, Powering Potential was invited and unanimously accepted as the first affiliate member of Open Source Initiative operating in Africa.[2]

In 2017, Powering Potential changed the name of its Computer Lab program to SPARC (Solar Powered Access to Raspberry Computing).

In 2018, the Tanzanian Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Modest J. Mero, was the guest of honor and spoke at the Powering Potential fundraiser.

In 2019, Powering Potential launched it's award-winning program in the Peruvian Amazon in Iquitos.


Tanzanian students at Mekomariro Secondary School being introduced to their newly-donated Raspberry Pi systems.
  • SPARC and SPARC+: Powering Potential's SPARC and SPARC+ programs install solar-powered Raspberry Pi computer labs, RACHEL offline digital libraries, Shule Direct digitized Tanzanian syllabi (in Tanzania) and provides training to select rural schools.[3]
  • Pi-oneer: Powering Potential's Pi-oneer program distributes a Raspberry Pi computer pre-installed with RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) offline educational content and Khan Academy media. Includes mobile projector and solar charging unit.


Powering Potential has seen significant expansion since its inception in 2006. The organization has achieved the following:

  • 30 solar power systems and 230 computers installed in 30 schools in 2 countries
  • 25,000+ teachers and students impacted
  • 60% of respondents report continuing their education
  • 57% of respondents report securing employment because of their technology skills
  • 2,500+ students enrolled in Tanzanian national ICT courses for secondary schools


  1. ^ a b Mjasiri, Jaffar (13 September 2011). "Powering Potential puts technology in schools in Tanzania while respecting local cultures". csmonitor.com. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. ^ "OSI Welcomes Powering Potential: Open Source Advocates Extending Education in Tanzania". opensource.org. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  3. ^ Segal, Rich (19 December 2014). "The Season of Giving Back". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

Masson, Patrick (27 May 2016). "Using Open Source Software, Powering Potential and the Raspberry Pi Foundation Bring Technology to Schools in Tanzania". Open Source Initiative. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

Oforo, Valentine (20 May 2015). "New drive to boost science learning in public schools". The Citizen. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

"Banjika makes headway in technology" (PDF). The National Newspaper Daily News. Tanzania. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

"Janice Lathen". Grand Circle Foundation. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

Muhwela Kalinga (1 September 2013). Evaluation Report of the Powering Potential Educating-Through-Technology Program (PDF) (Report).