The recent release of the UN’s 2021 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Report revealed that 97 million people in urban areas and 471 million in rural areas are still without access to electricity. But, with the sun being the most efficient energy source available, renewable energy – in particular solar – is ideal to meet Africa’s growing power needs. With electricity comes many life-changing opportunites, including access to education and healthcare, the ability for doctors to work through the night, the safe storage of medicines and vaccines, but most importantantly, the ability to pump safe and clean water.
This has the greatest impact on communities as it transforms their health and hygiene, brings food security, allows chidren to study and empowers women to work as there is no need to search for hours each day for water. Clean water also brings peace to communities where a lack of water may previously have created tension.
Just a few solar panels are enough to power a solar pump and Innovation: Africa recently celebrated bringing solar power to its 500th African village. This incredible achievement is transforming the lives of over 3 million people across the African continent. “It is essential that we focus on this easily accessible resource as the solution to enabling progress”, says Sivan Ya’ari, Founder & CEO of Innovation: Africa. “Providing 500 villages with access to solar energy and clean water is truly life-changing and sometimes difficult to quantify. More than 3 million people can now change their circumstances, and pass a legacy of empowerment down to future generations.”
Aside from the social impact that power and clean water have, the initiative is also giving many villagers the chance to become economically empowered through local job creation. The construction of the solar water pumping systems create employment for local contractors, construction workers, pump attendants, security guards as well as local community members who are hired by the contractors and trained in the construction process. This also ensures the longterm success and sustainability of the project as community members will be able to maintain the system they have been trained on. Local entrepreneurs can now make a living selling fresh produce or building and tending to gardens and farms. The ripple effects are endless and are improving the quality of life for millions on a daily basis.
“With power comes potential. The knock-on effects are already being seen as more and more people are able to rise to their purpose without being held back by circumstances which are out of their hands. Circumstances that can be changed by the simple installation of solar panels. We have the sun and we have the means to harness its energy to make a real change”, concludes Ya’ari.