Africa is “going green” and we are doing our part to take advantage of the tremendous amount of solar power potential available throughout the continent.
As reported recently by Africa.com, Africa has an immense energy crisis. With a population of close to 1 billion, there are 625 million people living without power – nearly 70 percent of the population.
“Africa has much greater solar resources available than any other continent because it is the… sunniest continent on earth,” notes Africa.com.
Kenya is taking the lead in promoting solar power. More of the country’s residents are getting power for the first time, installing solar panels, and reducing or eliminating their dependence on the grid.
In 2017, we installed solar panels on the roof of a clinic in the town of Kericho enabling doctors and staff to have hot water for washing, as well as keeping the facility itself more sanitary.
Three years ago, working with our partner, the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone, we shipped solar panels. The panels were placed on the roofs of clinics and hospitals in regions of the country where running a power line would be impossible.
This year, we are hoping to install solar panels on the roof of our long-time partner, the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya. Although the home for orphans is connected to the country’s electric grid, having the solar panels will reduce their reliance on power from the grid. This reduction will cut their utility costs and free up those funds to benefit the children.
Renewable energy technology has the potential to reduce problems faced throughout the continent. We applaud the fact many small-scale are companies and start-ups, such as M-KOPA Solar in Kenya which sells solar home systems to low-income earners, are making large inroads in making green energy available for all.
Over the past few weeks, communities across the globe have been faced with challenge after challenge! Weather emergencies here in the United States and Sierra Leone have hurt so many that live in the path of these destructive storms.
Once again, from all of us at Bread and Water for Africa®, our hearts go out to the people of Sierra Leone.
As many of you know, on August 14, after days of unrelenting rain, a sea of mud and rock came sliding down a hillside into the suburbs of the nation’s capital of Freetown.
Nearly 1,000 are now confirmed dead, and hundreds remain missing. Additionally, 20,000, including 5,000 children, have been displaced.
But your help has made a difference in the lives of those affected. Here are some of the images that just arrived from our local partner, Faith Healing Development Organization, of our efforts to provide medicine and food to thousands.
The immediate support our donors provided allowed us to quickly purchase tons of food to distribute to hundreds of families.
Later this week, we will also ship a 20-foot container of medicine and medical supplies, as we know that the suffering will continue for months.
Devastating flooding and mudslides have hit Sierra Leone washing away entire communities on the outskirts of Freetown.
Bread and Water for Africa® is responding to this emergency. Days of torrential rain have created terrifying mudslides in northern Sierra Leone, where our partner Faith Healing Development Corporation (FHDO) works to provide schooling, health care, and food to the poor. Thousands are feared dead and missing, and Rev. Mambu, FHDO Executive Director, reports that the situation is dire, with children in his care critically injured, and tragically, dying.
Massive flooding has left tens of thousands without shelter. Another deadly outbreak of cholera is a near certainty. We are air-freighting a container of emergency medical supplies tomorrow that can help meet the needs of 20,000 individuals. With the support of our donors, we will send funds to buy bottled water, medical supplies, water purification tablets, and oral rehydration kits. Next week, we will ship tons of disaster relief supplies, including medical, hygiene, and other relief items. Because of the caring and immediate support of our donors and partners, we are able to quickly respond to this crisis to save lives.
Access to clean, safe and unpolluted water is a valuable commodity in many places in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that 90 percent of all serious illnesses in Africa can be linked to contaminated water and poor sanitation.
For decades, Bread and Water for Africa® has made providing access to clean water a key priority by digging wells, ensuring that thousands in the surrounding community no longer have to walk miles fetching water, and literally risking their lives drinking it.
Such was the case in the community of Rutile in Sierra Leone where years ago, working our local partner there, Faith Healing Development Organization, we were able to fund the construction of a well on the grounds of an orphanage providing safe water for all.
But that was before the mining operation “whose activities have resulted in the pollution of all source of drinking water” arrived, we were told by FHDO Executive Director Rev. Francis Mambu.
Sierra Leone is one of the leading producers of bauxite, an aluminum ore and the world’s main source of aluminum, and nearby mining operations have caused the water to be unusable.
However, there is hope. It is possible that with a processing plant, the contaminated water in the well can be filtered and packaged into what are known in the country as plastic “sachets” which can contain between 8 and 12 ounces of water.
“These sachets are commonly bought and sold in all of the markets and streets throughout the country,” said Rev. Mambu who is proposing, with the support of Bread and Water for Africa®, to construct such a plant to not only restore access to safe, unpolluted drinking water for the community, but also provide a means of support to the orphanage where the well is located.
“From all indications, this project will be a lucrative one that will greatly sustain itself due to the demands of clean water in our mining communities, especially now that the dry season is about to begin,” Rev. Mambu told us.
The estimated cost for the processing plant is $16,000, and we at Bread and Water for Africa® are committed to supporting the project in the knowledge that not only will the processing plant restore safe water to those in the village of Rutile, it will also provide much-needed income to the orphanage so that orphaned children in the community will have a home to go to for years to come when there is nowhere else for them to turn.
Every year on the fourth Thursday of November millions of Americans across the United States gather with their families and friends for a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings and giving thanks for all the blessings they have received in life.
In sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of a few Americans residing there, it will be just another day.
But despite the hardships and challenges facing citizens of countries where Bread and Water for Africa® works in partnership with grassroots organizations including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and elsewhere, there are tens of thousands who have plenty of reason to be thankful.
In 2016 alone:
In Cameroon, more than 250 children benefited from the completion of a school, and another 142 orphaned and destitute primary and secondary school students benefited from school fee support.
In Ethiopia, 86,000 citizens are thankful for the medical services they received through five hospitals and a clinic supported by Bread and Water for Africa®, while another 12,400 students benefited from a shipment by Bread and Water for Africa® of 22,000 books which was distributed to 20 secondary school libraries.
In Kenya, 74 orphaned an abandoned children are thankful to have found a loving home at the Lewa Children’s Home, while another 400 Kenya students from nursery to grade eight benefited from an education provided to them at the KipKeino school, constructed nearly 20 years ago by Bread and Water for Africa®.
In Sierra Leone, more than 76,000 residents are grateful for the healthcare services received through hospitals and clinics supported by Bread and Water for Africa®, 3,000 students and local residents benefited from having access to clean, safe water by a well dug by Bread and Water for Africa® on the school grounds, and another 1,006 students are thankful for the education they received at four nurseries, four primary schools and three secondary schools.
In Zambia, 93 orphaned children are thankful to have a loving home which provides for all their basic needs and another 146 children living in foster care are grateful for the food support, assistance with school fees and basic health care support they receive.
In Zimbabwe, 207 children are thankful for an orphan feeding program supported by Bread and Water for Africa®, while 35 secondary school students are grateful for the opportunity to continue their education through our school fee support program.
But the credit doesn’t belong to us – it goes to you – supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who without which none of this would be possible.