Saturday, 16 January 2021

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Solar power changes families’ lives in Botswana

Botswana Solar powerUntil recently the Mokgatlhe family in Kgope, a remote village situated 50 kilometres west of Botswana’s capital, had been using firewood to light and heat their home. 

This practice, used by 80% of Botswana’s rural population, has led to the destruction of countless acres of forest. 

After purchasing their own home solar system, however, the family’s world changed overnight. Instead of worrying that the battery powering their light may run out, Mrs. Mokgatlhe focuses on making sure her children go to bed on time.

“It is a changed world for them,” she said with a smile. “They even spend more time reading and finishing their school work these days,” added her husband.

The family now hopes to buy an upgrade to their system that will power a television and a radio.

The introduction of solar power in Kgope is the result of efforts by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), in partnership with the Government of Botswana and local communities, to provide eco-friendly energy access throughout the country.

Known as the Rural Electrification Programme, this initiative was undertaken in response to Botswana’s urgent call for alternative fuels and a means of reducing carbon emissions. It targets poor and female-run households, offering them efficient energy devices at affordable prices.

As part of the programme's pilot phase, solar-powered heating systems and lighting appliances were introduced to some 88 villages that are off the country's main electricity grid. And in Kgope village, the local development committee is running an energy kiosk that sells solar lanterns, wood-saving stoves and hot bags - specially designed bags that keep food warm and thereby reduce cooking time on stoves.

This pilot phase of the programme will be used to resolve any minor problems before being replicated throughout the country and integrated into the national electrical grid, promoting renewable energy use throughout Botswana.

Original article and photo by UNDP

3 Questions to Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, head of the “World´s Best News “ campaign in Denmark.

mall Miracles:

  • Africa – There are 450 million mobile phone users in Africa today. They have created growth and made Sudanese Mo Ibrahim a multimillionaire and local hero: He gives a yearly award to the most democratic African leader who gives up power voluntarily.

  • Burkina Faso - 900,000 people in the countryside of Burkina Faso are now drinking clean water.
  • Global - Developing countries debt has been decreased to a quarter in only ten years.

  • Guatemala - 96 % of Guatemalans now have clean drinking water after the civil war ended in 1996.

  • Bolivia - 5 million Indians now have a certificate pointing to ownership of their own land and Indians have now strengthened their political influence and rights after centuries of repression.

  • Botswana – The economy has grown by an average of 9 % every year, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Botswana has invested its income from mineral trading wisely and is recognized as the least corrupt country in Africa today.

  • Ghana – The number of children suffering from malnutrition has decreased from 32 % in 1992 to 9 % today. After pursuing an effective healthcare policy, agricultural reforms and strong international cooperation, the country is now self-sufficient in food production.
  • Rwanda - Rwanda and Angola have more women in their parliament than anywhere else in the world, currently 56 %.

  • Tanzania - 96 % of all children now go to school compared with only 50% in 1990.

  • Vietnam – The number of poor people in Vietnam has fallen from 58 % in 1990 to 15 % in 2008.

  • Bangladesh - Although Bangladesh has huge healthcare problems because of poverty and climate change, investments in healthcare clinics have resulted in child mortality rates being halved since 1990.