Light Up Our Futures

Light Up Our Futures

Providing 24 hour solar current to 5 communities is the right step to improving health, education and income generation of thousands of Liberians and sets the country on the path of genuine development.

Orlando S. Kanswen – Light Up Our Futures Project Coordinator

CONTEXT

In 2015, still approximately 88% of the Liberian population remains without access to electricity, hampering their ability to study, work and connect with the outside world. Many households still use solid fuels — wood, charcoal and open fire — for cooking and heating, with serious health implications. Without a reliable electricity source, health services are poor, schools and homes have limited access to light and are plunged in darkness at the end of the day, leaving students and adults with less time to study and work.

OBJECTIVES

  • The overall objective of the project is to contribute to poverty reduction in rural communities in Liberia.
  • The specific objective is to increase knowledge about access to renewable energy that is affordable and sustainable for villagers in Liberia with a focus on Lofa county.

RESULTS

  • 5 mini solar grids electricity services installed in 5 isolated rural communities: 547 end users now have 24 hour access to electricity.
  • 25 new street lights increased safety such that reports of burglaries have reduced significantly.
  • The 5 communities can rely on 11 solar-powered water systems.
  • The clinic in Lengbamba now delivers prolonged night health care services to residents and health workers can be contacted around the clock because they can charge their phones at any time of the day.
  • The 5 new Village Savings Loan Association clubs generated up to one million Liberian dollars (approx. 100 000 USD), thereby giving members access to small-scale financing of their small businesses. Up to 10 new small businesses, including satellite dish operated video clubs, sales of flavoured drinks, have been established.
  • More time for work and play: Children study, adults work, social groups meet and shops remain open after dark. Community members can listen to the radio and shops can play music whenever they want. The children like to play under the street light.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • EU contribution: 1 417 610.00 € (75%)
  • Total cost: 1 890 146 €
  • Duration: July 2015 - March 2018
  • Total number of beneficiaries: 8 714
  • Share of total energy consumption: 43% small houses, 16% medium houses, 14% kernel oil/cracker mill, 9% water pumping

TESTIMONY

The Kollie family from Kolahun district expanded their business

Mr. and Mrs. Phransis Y. Kollie are a family of eight, living in Tanninahun, Kolahun District, Lofa County. To make a living the couple used to engage in petty trade, retailing of salt, bouillon cube, candies and sometimes rice.

"We were selling these small-small things just to pay our children’s school expenses and provide food and other needs especially during the hunger seasons. The Light Up Our Futures project’s bringing of electricity, however, comes with many new opportunities to make money.

"We have bought 2 freezers and have started making and selling cold water and cool aid. We sell these items twice every week during market days in Johnny and Kolahun towns. From the sale of cold water and cool aid, in this rainy season, we have been able to make at least L$1500 (US$15.00) profit every week. This achievement is great, knowing obviously that the sales of these items will increase during the dry season." 

Mr. Kollie concluded, "I can see in the future, with this Light Up Our Futures project, we the members of this community have so many money-making opportunities to take advantage of, thanks to the European Union and Plan International."