Eighteen communities in the Buu – Yao Administrative District are benefiting from solar powered lights provided by the German humanitarian organization GIZ through a program called “EnDev –Liberia.”
The solar power installations cover 21 facilities, including 18 public schools and three clinics, in 18 communities across Buu – Yao, as well as the Kparblee Administrative District, which lies on the border with Ivory Coast.
Mr. George King Howard from African Venture, a cocoa buying entity in the locality, told this newspaper that many of the farmers it deals with do not know how to read or write, and they (the farmers) have appealed for an adult illiteracy program.
“It was based on that request that we contacted GIZ to install these solar lights in order to conduct the adult illiteracy classes,” he said. “We are installing solar energy lights in 18 public and private school facilities while the remaining three are for clinics.”
The installation of the solar lights was received by the locals with rejoicing when the lights at one of the campuses were switched on.
“We are very happy with the solar power because it will help a lot in our adult literacy program,” said William Kwemie, vice principal of the Buutuo Christian Union School.
“We have been carrying out adult literacy programs using lanterns and ordinary Chinese dry cell lights and so, with this, more students will be encouraged to enroll in this school,” he added.
“Most of the boys and girls in the program dropped out of school during the war and looking at their own responsibilities, they are unable to attend school during normal school time, except for the adult literacy program,” said another teacher.
Upon the installation, GIZ technicians conducted a brief training for the end users on how to manage the solar lights to get enough light during the night hours.
Gaijouhn Gayebuah of GIZ said, “There is no light greater than the daylight, so we want to keep the lights off during the day.”
“The security of the solar lights rests in your hands,” another technician, Mark Geegbe, told the users during the training. “Make sure to clean the solar panel after one or two months whenever you find out that it is not producing the required light.”
Despite their happiness, several persons expressed various expectations. “We thought this solar energy current light was going to provide AC for us to use other appliances in the clinic,” said one person.
“We took all our vaccine materials to another clinic for storage, because we do not have the electricity that will keep the drugs cold, so when we heard about this (solar installation) we were so impressed; however, we thank GIZ for this, as we look forward to the more advanced type,” he added.
Every installation carries 8 solar bulbs, used for lighting only. It is reportedly not powerful enough to charge a cell phone, which many persons were expecting.