Can you imagine a life cut off from the world because you have no access to electricity? That is a reality for over 1.5 billion people in developing countries.
A few colleagues and I set out to address, in a small way, the huge challenge – or huge opportunity – to bring power to unelectrified communities, with an initial emphasis in East Africa. Sun Partners International – a non-profit volunteer organization – was founded with a mission to provide engineering and capital resources to deploy sustainable, solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems targeting community health, youth education, and local economic development. In August 2013 Sun Partners completed its first project, a water pumping and storage system at a community school for 1,400 students in a mega-slum of Lusaka, Zambia.
In nearby Tanzania, eighty-five percent (85%) of the population does not have access to power. Teenage girls in rural Tanzania (like many other African nations) face significant hurdles to receiving an education beyond primary school due to security risks associated with walking long distances and daily responsibilities tending to critical household chores (e.g. fetching water, cooking, etc.). In October 2014 Sun Partners completed a solar system with battery storage to power lights and computers at a dormitory for 48 girls at Idetemya Secondary School, a rural school outside of Mwanza, Tanzania. In 2015, the dormitory and its solar power system will be expanded to power lights and computers for 144 girls in total, along with the addition of a water pumping and storage system to provide a reliable, year-round supply of clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
The celebration by the girls of Idetemya, Tanzania of their new dormitory and its electricity and flowing water, resources that many of us take for granted, will always be a vivid memory. Out of difficult circumstances, Sun Partners strives to promote hope……you could say “electric hope”. If you’d like to know more about Sun Partners International or get involved in upcoming projects, contact Mark Hannifan at email@example.com.