About Lokole (Opwen)

Lokole (or Opwen) is the name of the device built by Ascoderu to bring affordable emails to rural communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Lokole is the specific tag-name given to the deployment and project targeted in the DRC, while Opwen is the name of Ascoderu's efforts in providing email communication worldwide.

The Lokole device enables everyone to access sustainable emails by pooling people resources and sharing the cost of bandwidth.

The name of "Lokole" refers to the slit drum that traditionally was used for long-distance communication in some areas of the Congo.

A small Lokole drum and the first working Lokole prototype.

Why email?

Worldwide there is an evident digital divide that disables most people to access to affordable services and technology. For instance, in the DRC about 75 millions (97%) of people are still unconnected to the email communication system. In the DRC the price of 1GB of data is about $1.00 (Vodacom), almost as much as the average daily income $1.10 (World Bank). With Lokole, the cost can be only $0.01 per person, the same price of 50 grams of Cassava (FAO).

Today, the access to internet and the digital world are considered key factors in the promotion of sustainable development. For instance, by enabling people to connect to the digital world with Lokoke, Ascoderu enhances and promotes the UN Sustainable Development Goals 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructures. While providing sustainable access to email communication systems, Ascoderu also enables people to build more resilient and sustainable cities (UN SDG 11).

The cost of a Lokole

1 x Raspberry Pi 3 $60
1 x Case $10
1 x Power supply cable $15
1 x Huawei stick $35
1 x Hologram SIM $7

This breakdown accurately shows the cost of each component used in our current working prototype. In the future, prices may slightly change, but today the cost of a Lokole device is about $130.

With $130 we can create a Lokole that brings free emails to a village of 100 people.

Lokole Timeline

  • Between 2013 and 2015, Ascoderu successfully connected two Congolese communities to the internet by using REC, the proof-of-concept project.
  • In early 2016, a group of enthusiastic volunteers joined Ascoderu to launch the Lokole project and its development.
  • Summer 2016, Ascoderu's lead software developer successfully built the Lokole hardware (based on a Rasberry Pi) and the email app (see on GitHub). 

  • Currently the developers are working on coding and setting up the cloud server.
  • Now that we have a working Lokole prototype, it is in the process of being tested for increasing sustainability.
  • We need to found-raise for purchasing items to build at least 20 Lokole devices and to cover the travel costs for the deployment in the DRC.
  • In 2017, our team will go to the DRC to deploy Lokole and to teach locals how to use and maintain this technology.

Your support matters

We are a handful of people volunteering to achieve "emails for all". We're grateful for all donations and any amount. If you can support our project in any way, please get in touch at ascoderu.opwen@gmail.com

Your donation helps us to reduce the existing digital divide and gives hope to many people who otherwise would not be connected to the digital world.

Thank you, 

Ascoderu Team.

“The capacity to receive, download and share information through electronic networks, the freedom to communicate freely across national boundaries -- these must become realities for all people.” - Kofi Annan


Meet some of the fundraisers that are part of this campaign

Recent Updates

Recent Donors