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Youth showing colleagues the arrangement of solar cells in a solar panel during the training in Ilkerin Loita

SOLAR FOR KNOWLEDGE AND BETTER LIFESTYLE

“At least I can do basics in solar panel installation, I know a lot regarding entrepreneurship skills, and maybe I can start solar business to supply my community with the solar. Great thanks to Green Africa Foundation and S3C Foundation”

Walk down to the parts of Maasai Mara and meet a community who still embraces and upholds to culture and traditions in Kenya, the community is disadvantaged in many ways. There are no proper road networks in this place, low education standards and lack of modern basic skills among the youths. The community stays in darkness since there is no electricity supply in the area.

The area that is mostly dominated by the Maasai community still involves in barter trade type of business as part of their culture. In as much as new and modern building structures are sprawling in, they still live in traditional structures called the Manyatta. These issues have affected much the development of this area.

The area also possesses a very hostile environment of hot weather, low rainfall availability that result to low farm output.  The economic status of the area is rated low with the majority leaving below the poverty line, lack of access to information and negligence by the National Government. The area has diverse wildlife resource, including the famous Seven Wonders of the World but the people do not benefit much from these resource due to lack of enhanced knowledge in wildlife conservation and tourism.

“Yes, this project is much fruitful to our people. We have finally seen the lights and our children can now read at home with ease and do homework”. Said, Mr. Nelson the NCDO Project Manager. He further said that this will boost education standards in the area and also help create new business and employment opportunities for the youths.

“The trained youths will be able to provide services of solar installation and maintenance to the broken ones. Since they have acquired the knowledge on the basics of sales and skills of entrepreneur, they can be absorbed by the business ventures that are coming up to help them earn a living. This project has also played a fundamental role in sensitizing the community on the need to change with changes and stop holding to culture and traditions that some of them create negative impacts in the lives of the people”

Photo of an installed school in Nkoilale

The project that was funded by UNDP and implemented by the partner organizations; Green Africa Foundation and S3C Foundation has created an impact to the lives of the Maasai Community in Maasai Maara. The project that was dubbed “Lighting the Community and Schools” installed solar panels in six schools in the region, distributed fifty solar lanterns to each of the schools to start a Solar Revolving Fund Initiative, trained ten youths on solar business and technical aspects.

Youths installing solar in a primary school

Its sustainability will be realized when the ongoing plans of starting the community solar business with the local NGOs succeed. This will provide the solar ready for the community members and young entrepreneurs; it will also absorb the youths who were trained during the project course.

“The project has been an eye opener to this society and we have realized that there is need to make use of the natural sunlight to provide energy so as to save our environment from depletion at the same time be free from the common diseases caused as a result of carbon gas inhalation” Said Mrs. Cresentia Senteu, Project Manager Ilkerin Integrated Development Project (ILIDP).

“We have been connected with several micro-finance banks managers who are willing to work with us and this will help us be able to access small grants to start or boost our businesses as a result raise the living standards and area economy. I will therefore take this special moment to thank in heart most Green Africa Foundation and S3C Foundation for having thought it wise to help our community see the light and empower our youths who are the key drivers of our economy”.

This project is a projection of long term development initiatives that should be given support by the people, Government and developing partners not only in Maasai Mara but can also be replicated in several parts of Kenya.

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