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Rudi Bressa

Maasai women are leading a solar revolution in Africa

Maasai women are travelling to the country's remotest villages to bring renewable, affordable energy and improve people's living conditions.

Poverty can (also) be defeated through energy independence. Having night lights, the opportunity of charging electronic devices and storing energy for the night can change lives, literally.

This is what’s happening in some rural villages in Kenya, where more than 200 Maasai women go from one village to another riding their donkeys. They bring solar panels, rechargeable batteries and lighting kits. It’s a real revolution both for women who now have access to economic activities and for the inhabitants of those villages that don’t have access to the national electricity grid.

The project realised by the Green Energy Africa allows Maasai women to sell solar panels, rechargeable batteries and lights at 300 Kenyan shillings (about 3 dollars) per unit. This makes them earn some money to buy other kits, becoming a perfect green economy model.

 

Maasai women bring energy to rural villages

“For us, the impact of solar technology is unparalleled,” said Jackeline Naiputa, head of Osopuko-Edonyinap, one of the five-women groups bringing energy in the area. Naiputa’s son was forced to stay up at night to protect their goats from wild animals. “Light scares hyenas, so my son is now able to sleep soundly inside,” she added.

 

Clean energy accessible to all

One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. Renewables can play a determining role in achieving this goal even if one out of five people currently don’t have access to electricity. Yet, thanks to projects of this kind is possible changing villages’ lot in developing countries.

Another important environmental aspect has to be considered. The access to technologies like solar energy and energy storage allows ever more people freeing themselves from fossil fuels and firewood. Not only solar power protects forests, but it also improves the health of women and children who often get sick for inhaling smoke.

Being located close to the equator, Kenya has a huge potential in developing solar energy, and Maasai women did understand that.

 

Rudi Bressa is a professional environmental journalist.

 

Source: http://www.lifegate.com/people/lifestyle/maasai-women-solar-revolution