September 15, 2022

NGO, others provide solar power initiative for offgrid schools

By Adeola Badru

Glow Initiative for Economic Empowerment, through its Solar Up Nigeria (SUN) Initiative, has concluded the third batch of the Solar for Schools Community Project where it installed a 3.5kw Solar system for Off-grid school at St. Monic Model Academy, Igbeagu, Ebonyi State which funded by Commonwealth Human Ecology Council, England, United Kingdom.

In a press statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas and constant power outages in grid- connected areas have prevented students from learning in optimal conditions.

The statement further added that students lack access to modern information technology which is crucial for educational and economic empowerment, noting that solar energy has the potential to power the education system in rural areas by providing adequate electricity.

“Access to solar electricity for a rural school will enable them to meet their electricity needs such as Lighting, powering educational appliances, ventilation, computer and ICT education etc.”

“Alibaruhu community, where the Igbeagu village is situated is an agrarian settlement located in IZZI Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria and completely offgrid. It is about 14.7km away from Abakaliki Capital territory. Alibaruhu community is predominantly an agrarian community with a population of about 20,000.”

“ICT, digital and internet education are powerful skills of the 21st century. Young people must thereby be equipped with the knowledge with which they could create own businesses and employ others.”

The project team on arrival at Igbeagu community held a meeting with the leadership of Igbeagu community and the Management of St. Monich Model Academy Igbeagu. The meeting afforded the project team the opportunity to better understand the challenges posed by the non-availability of the stable electric supply in the school and the resultant impact it has on learning processes and outcomes in the school.”

“The principal and computer teacher complained about how the lack of electricity has hampered computer practical’s in the school and hindered night time study.”

“The leadership of the community and the Management of the school were delighted that their community school was selected to benefit from the “Solar for School” project. According to them, the project will be a great relief for them as their problem of electric power supply for the school will be permanently fixed. The leadership of the community also pledged their commitment to ensure that the installed solar PV systems will be adequately safe guarded.”

“With electricity in the school, all nearly 300 students can be engaged more productively. With the installed solar system, they can conveniently have access to ICT and Computer Education including coding.”

“The project was completed on late July 2022 and the students were so excited that as soon as light came into the computer centre from solar they all gathered round the computers excitedly and started operating them.”

“In March 2020, Glow Initiative conducted a similar project at Makoko slum Community where it built a solar powered center and trained 20 female fish trades on how to build a solar dryer. They could now save more money by avoiding fish damage. Through the solar powered center the women are able to sell electricity and make some money to invest in cleaner technology for their fish products.”

“They also conducted similar projects at Community Secondary School Ebenebe and Community Secondary School, Amanuke, both in Anambra State in February and July 2021.”

“The Solar for Schools Community Project is part of Glow Initiative’s effort to promote solar energy and power education for off-grid rural schools. It plans to reach more rural schools and therefore seeking access to technical support and more funding,” the statement concluded.