Lighting up Africa with Israeli technology
Innovation: Africa nonprofit has helped over half a million people lead better and healthier lives with solar energy projects throughout the continent
By David Shamah December 2, 2013, Times of Israel
At the awards ceremony for Innovation Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. (L. to R.) Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary General of the the United Nations; Sivan Yaari, Founder and President of Innovation Africa; John W. Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly; Yiping Zhou, Director, United Nations Unit for South-South Cooperation UNDP New York (Photo credit: Courtesy)
In central Africa, there’s an orphanage that is a last refuge for hundreds of children. For kids whose parents have died — many of them from AIDS — the Kaliro School and Orphanage is a place where they can grow and thrive, safe from the hazards all around them. It’s typical of many such institutions in Africa, which suffer from a lack of funding, and are taking care of many more children than they can handle.
But at least students and residents of the orphanage no longer have to sit in the dark at night. By installing Israeli-developed solar energy systems, Innovation: Africa has brought light to not only the 500 children of the Kaliro School, but to hundreds of thousands of others as well. The project is unique in Africa and it recently won a top award from the United Nations.
Located miles away from the electrical cables — the children of the Kaliro School hail from dozens of remote farming villages, far from any city — the orphanage had an energy problem. Without electricity (the region has none), the only way to light up the rooms at night was with kerosene gas or candles. But those methods are dangerous, especially for kids; the former could cause lung diseases while the latter could easily start a disastrous fire. Besides, the dim light was ruining the children’s vision.