Napenda Solar Community is an initiative by Debs and Thiemo, the Directors and Founders of Africa Expedition Support, to address energy poverty in East Africa amongst poor rural communities. Napenda Solar Community through Africa Expedition Support offer tourists, school and university groups a unique solar power workshop where you will learn about solar power, design, build and install a solar power system in a poor rural community.
Based in Kajiado County in rural Kenya, Debs and Thiemo have been advent solar power users and advocates for many years having lived in houses, running their workshop, office, crew house and staff cottages all on solar power. After using solar power for many years and swearing by it as a clean efficient energy source the decision was made to enable and support those in their rural community to access solar power. Hence Napenda Solar Community was born.
Kajiado County is between Nairobi, the Capital of Kenya and the border of Tanzania in Masai Land. Energy poverty is endemic in the area and is reflected in low high and primary school education pass rates and low literacy rates in adults. The area is semi desert with low rainfall situated 2000m above sea level; however the area enjoys many hours of sunshine each day. The area is shared amongst small scale subsistence farmers mostly herding cattle, goats and sheep, resident herds of wildlife including zebra, gazelle and dik diks and an abundance of birdlife.
Electricity is something we use every day. However for millions of people in Africa electricity is either too expensive or their geographical location makes connecting to mains power impossible. Majority of Kajiado County, Kenya is without access to mains electricity; it is an area clearly suffering from energy poverty.
Majority of people in the community are poor, earning less than USD$2 per day. While they want electricity their socio-economic status makes it an impossible dream. Being only 1 degree south of equator the sun sets at approximately 6:30pm every night. The rural population are left sitting in the dark, children cannot study impairing education; parents feel helpless and productive hours are dictated by sun light hours; all because of energy poverty.
We all know the best way to alleviate poverty is through education. By connecting as many households and schools to solar power systems means children from poor rural families will have a better chance to not only complete their education but excel; opening opportunities – a step out of poverty.
Napenda Solar Community blends opportunities for tourists, school and university groups to learn about solar power and energy conservation, design, build and install solar power systems into poor rural homes and schools through solar power workshops. This is a unique way for those wanting to connect and engage in a meaningful positive manner and empower poor local communities to alleviate energy poverty.
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Watch this video to see just how much of an impact community service projects have on the community and student groups.