On the hot and steamy shores of Lake Victoria our East Africa Team are beginning the next phase of the RESOLVE Project. Started last year in April, RESOLVE, supported by Comic Relief, aims to bring Solar/Wind Energy Hubs to support six extremely poor fishing communities on the banks of Lake Victoria in Kenya.
Gertrud, a mother of seven, is one of the earliest beneficiaries of the project. She signed up in phase one and explained to us the impact that improved electricity availability and having access to small loans has made on her life.
“I now have lights in my house a light in the kitchen and the main room. I now have light for my small children to study, I am much more comfortable.
In one month I used to use 5 litres of kerosene, which I had to go far to buy; the electricity is much cheaper, now my electricity bill is only 200 shillings compared to 600-800 per month with kerosene.
I have benefited from the small business training and the selling of vegetables and my vegetable are now free to me. We took a loan for the pump, a micro-loan as part of the project, which we paid back; we are using the pumped water to grow vegetables and we earn 200-300 shillings a day, this is enough for me.”
Gertrude is not alone, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the two communities we worked with in phase one. Now the East Africa team plan to extend the supply of renewable energy sources to a further four communities, improve living conditions for almost 4000 people in the region.
In the next stage of the project the generated energy will be used to meet the expressed demands of the local community by powering such innovation as freezers and icemakers for fishermen, water purification and clean lighting for health benefits and water pumping for year round agricultural production increases.
Nick Virr, Global Programme Director said “Fishing is the main source of income for these communities and a large proportion of the fish caught here is Nile Perch, a speciality fish that fetches high market prices. Unfortunately, as there is no energy supply, the fish cannot be refrigerated and is bought for very low prices by unscrupulous dealers with ice trucks. We are planning to change this situation by installing wind turbines, which will provide enough energy for ice machines.
“We also want to provide solar lamps for night fishermen. At the moment they use expensive and polluting kerosene to light their boats. They actually lose money during low season as the kerosene costs more than the catch brings in. We are planning to provide them with bright solar lamps which will last for the whole night.”
Renewable World is hugely excited to be moving forwards and bringing sustainable energy sources to more communities in Kenya. This year we intend to build upon our previous success, by helping a total of six communities achieve self-sufficiency through access to sustainable energy. Our new East Africa team are enthusiastic about the challenge and will be reporting back with regular updates on progress in the field. Stay tuned and check out our blog for the most up to date news on the project.
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£10 could purchase two solar lamps
£25 could help ten rural women to set up their own business
£50 could help fishermen fetch a fair price for their catch
Find out more about the work that Renewable World does by visiting their website.