Oct 152013
 

Approximately 66% of the Namibian population did not have access to electricity in 2009 (Namibia report, 2012). Those without electricity mostly live in rural areas or in informal urban settlements. Illegal connections to the existing grid as well as open fires, candles and paraffin lights are often used to generate light at night. These practices are of serious safety and health concerns as they may cause injuries or even death, particularly amongst young children and elderly people. The absence of light can further reduce the ability of students to read and study at home. This may cause poor academic performance and is noted to be of concern in less well-equipped schools across Namibia.

During the 11th Conference of Parties (COP11) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) held in Windhoek Namibia the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) raised funds in order to provide Pico Solar Home Systems to allow students access to improved learning environment. The purpose is to provide lighting for reading, studying and other activities for students in rural and informal settlements. The initiative was developed by the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) for the host country, Namibia, with the endorsement of the UNCCD Secretariat.

Figure 1: Left: The Pico Solar Home System (solar panel, battery and lamp). Right: A learner doing homework at night using torch light

Figure 2: Left: A hut in the rural area using solar system for lighting. Right: The DRFN travel offset booth supporting the initiative

Local and international participants showed a lot of interest in the initiative and more specifically the technology. A total of 40 participants contributed financially. The UNCCD Secretariat has committed itself to support the initiative with financial contribution as well. We hope that even after the COP11, more people will continue to support this initiative.
The project will be implemented in early 2014 by the DRFN in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Environment & Tourism. Once implemented, project activities can be followed on the DRFN webpage as well as our Facebook page.

To further ensure continued support to this important initiative the DRFN welcomes financial support

Contributions can be made during office hours, Monday – Friday from 08h00 – 16h00 at 7 Rossini Street, Windhoek West or by using the DRFN banking details:

Name of bank: First National Bank
Account type: Cheque account
Account number: 555 011 525 61
Branch code: 280 872
Branch name: John Meinert
Swift code: FIRNNANX

Fax deposit slip to Fax: +264 61 230 172.

For additional information on the initiative download: brochure or contact: Christerline Ndeleki,Tel: +264 61 377 500.

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