The Kibera slum of Nairobi is home to a million people — and no electricity. Kibera residents use dangerous and heavily-polluting kerosene lamps to see at night, and despite their fervor for soccer, watching the World Cup has been entirely out of reach — regardless of how geographically close it may be. Until now — a Swiss not-for-profit, Solafrica, has provided a portable solar power station that runs a large donated TV where residents can gather to watch the event.
The solar power station is relatively compact — it consists of solar panels and accumulators, and doesn’t require complex wiring. After the World Cup, it will be installed at a nearby school.
It’s not the first fantastically practical project Solafrica has undertaken in Kibera. Working with Greenpeace and the Kibera Community Youth Programme — who also participated in the World Cup project — the Swiss company has trained local youth to make simple solar-powered LED lamps that can replace kerosene lamps indoors or work as a flashlight. They’re easy to assemble and operate, increasing their chances of long-term use. The project provides jobs to Kibera Youth, and gives them a chance to do schoolwork after dark.
I’m tempted to get out a vuvuzela to toast this amazing work, but that would just be annoying.