PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 September 2011 20:59

Sierra Leone: Women Bringing Solar Power

By Meena Bhandari

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Sept 4, 2011 (GGDN) - A group of 12 women from villages in Sierra Leone is in the frontline of a battle to bring solar-powered electricity to rural communities. No small feat, given that rural Sierra Leone is not connected to power.

 

The women were all trained at Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, in western India. They are now back in Sierra Leone assembling 1,500 household solar units at a new Barefoot College in Konta Line village, Port Loko district, which is to be formally opened next month. They sit at long wooden tables fitting tiny coloured resisters to circuit boards – heads tilted, deep in concentration, as smoke puffs up from their soldering irons.

 

The women are all either illiterate or semi-literate – they used to be subsistence farmers, living day-to-day like millions in Sierra Leone. But now they are proud graduates, having travelled 6,000 miles to India to learn – in the women's words – "how to make light from the sun".

 

"The idea of solar was so surprising that I had to be a part of it," says Mary Dawo from Romakeneh village.

 

"Snakes, rodents, reptiles and biting insects crept and crawled into our homes with the dark at 7pm. Children couldn't study, and we couldn't relax, socialise or plan our lives after a long day's work," says Fatmata Koroma from Mambioma village.

 

The Barefoot College in Sierra Leone is the first in Africa. It will enrol up to 50 students on four-month residential courses in solar engineering. The Sierra Leone government has invested about $820,000 in the project. Though the college is funded by the government, the women hope they can run it independently, in what they describe as the "Barefoot way".

 

The solar equipment the college runs on, and the equipment for 10 villages, was provided by the Barefoot College in India, and the initial training was sponsored by the Indian government as part of its south-south co-operation programme.

 

"In India, the first problem was vegetarian food," says Koroma. "The desert was too hot and everything was different. But, within months we could assemble circuits and construct systems. Anything was possible after that."

 

The graduates now live in the college hostel, where they will stay until they have trained their replacements "for the service to our villages and our country", says Nancy Kanu. She was in the first female batch of students to train in India, in 2007, the same year that Konta Line village, where she's from, was declared the first solar village. She is now chief solar engineer. "I teach full-time, but I'm on call – even at night – to fix a fuse, change a bulb or charge a phone," she says.

 

People interact differently now in Konta Line, says Aminata Kargbo. "People socialise more – they're nicer," she says. The advent of solar energy has saved the village about $1,000 in candles and kerosene so far; money that is being kept for the upkeep of solar equipment.

 

However, the solar units are expensive [$500-$800] and far beyond the reach of most rural households. "There's a 45% import tax … You need electricity to manufacture solar equipment here," says Idriss Kamara of the Safer Future Youth Development Project.

 

The local NGO tackles the country's 60% youth unemployment, training people in vocational skills, including solar. But, Kamara says, few solar trainees find work because hardly any households use it. The government says it is looking to reduce the tax so benefits are passed on to customers and access to solar power increases.

 

However, while Sierra Leone's government supports the Barefoot College project, people have wider energy needs, says Yvette Stevens of the ministry of energy and water. "We are casino online portugal developing a broader rural energy programme focusing on community, productive and social needs," she says.

 

Renewables such as solar, biofuels and hydro form the basis of this programme, supported by an upcoming World Bank project. "There's a lot of donor money for renewables now, given their impact on climate change," says Stevens. The government envisages local solar systems will provide power for clinics and schools, and for "water pumps, communal television, and computer centres", she explains. Energy is not set out as a separate MDG, but it's vital in meeting them, she says.

 

Sierra Leone is still catching up after the lost years of the decade-long civil war that wiped out the country's fragile infrastructure. More than 60% of people (about 3.6 million) live rurally. Few can afford generators. Even in urban areas, more than 90% of people go without power.

 

A recent World Bank report states that electricity is Sierra Leone's most daunting infrastructure challenge. This, despite the new Bumbuna hydropower plant, which has improved the situation in the capital, Freetown, a little during the rainy season, providing nearly half the city's demand. Nevertheless, rural areas lag far behind. Sierra Leone records 46 days of power outages a year, which is four times higher than in other low-income African states.

 

They may be a small part of a bigger strategy, but Sierra Leone's Barefoot women are thinking about the future. "Once these units are installed, I think we'll need an investor to manufacture solar units here to make them affordable for everyone," Barefoot College graduate Kanu says. "There's nothing we can't learn now to make our lives better. We have the power to change our villages." (END)

 

Необходимо, конечно, для удобства проложить туристские тропинки и дорожки между льдинами и накрасить ""на ледниках туристские знаки.

Даже я, уроженка болотистой Луизианы, не считаю их слишком любезными.

Ввзводный Фукс пробурчал что-то невразумительнее и быстро ушел.

И самое поразительное, поистине загадка для геолога что среди этих холмов, даже на самых высоких гребнях, встречаются водоемы, озерки, и вода в них бывает не от случая к случаю, не только после дождей.

Тогда она позвала слугу не усатого, "Nfs high stakes скачать игру"а другого, с козлиной бородкой и приказала "Philips 32pfl3605 инструкция"немедленно разыскать принцессу.

Швы треснули и начали расползаться.

Бывало, баржа Мануэля Лизы с трудом пробивалась ""через трупы животных, но даже "Ключи для аваст интернет секьюрити"поселенцы, с их волчьим аппетитом, не трогали эти тонны мяса.

По подбородку потекла кровь, словно струйка расплавленного золота.

Но Илит не стала дослушивать "Обновления для avast скачать"его оправдания.

Нет, ответила Домино, со мной будет "Прохождение игры город дураков"Злюка, и еще я возьму ""с собой коней для Джорда и Рейфа.

И следовательно, оружие Террамы может причинить им вред.

Искорки желтого пламени, танцуя, "Распознавания текста программы скачать"устремились к полу, в то время как по бокам шара пошел темный дым.

Я помню, как мы внесли первые модификации в кушетки.

Фермер без земли, торговец без товара!

Ее голова оказалась в широком углублении, "Скачать бесплатные стихи о любви"вырубленном в серой породе.

Слева и справа началось извержение вулканов.

Он бросил мешок "Скачать чит для css v34 спидхак"и кинулся на Билла.

Никто "скачать игру пингвины мадагаскара торрент"никогда так не разговаривал "Sims 2 бизнес скачать"с полковником "лучший дабстеп скачать"государственной безопасности.

Неплохая мысль, вот "Логопедия. Методическое наследие: В 5 книгах. Книга 2: Нарушение темпа и ритма речи"только убедить доктора Марко "скачать jimm aspro mail agent"в реальности всего происходящего "Французский язык с нуля. Интенсивный упрощенный курс (+CD)"будет достаточно трудно.

Тут вдруг перестал попискивать "финансовый анализ учебники скачать"электрокардиограф.

Миссис Спотсворт "Скачать игру ben 10 alien force vilgax attacks ben"вышла, а Джил повисла у "скачать презентации по биологии"Билла на шее.

Потому что ты не изучал должным образом истории Мастеров Синанджу.

 
AfricnGrowthWorldSafaris_

Articles in Calendar

< September 2011 >
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
      1 2 3
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    


infobanner150-230-locaz
astana-logo
investinregions_ru
Buziness Africa magazine