The 5 year initiative, which will see 2 million SkyPower Home solar kits distributed, is set to make a transformative contribution to renewable energy to some of the poorest households in Kenya, providing triple benefits to children and communities in terms of education, health and protection.
The announcement comes as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) draws to a close, with governments concluding negotiations on a new international climate change agreement.
Enhancing children’s lives
“Plan International is proud to announce this landmark partnership with SkyPower. It couldn’t come at a more pertinent time as important moves are made to address climate change,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International.
“Providing access to home solar kits across rural Kenya has the power to transform and enhance the lives of children and those living in remote communities.”
According to the World Bank, as of 2012, only 23% of Kenya’s population has access to electricity. It is estimated that 60% of urban residents, and only 7% of rural residents, are connected to the electricity grid.
Triple positive impacts
“Plan International has worked in Kenya for over 33 years and our work supports over 800,000 families. This project will contribute towards ensuring the safe delivery of infants in clinics, that boys and girls succeed in school, women and girls are more protected and climate change is addressed,” continued Ms Albrectsen.
“Triple positive impacts will be felt in education, health and protection, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4 and 7.”
Only 1 in 4 health facilities in Kenya have a reliable energy supply, forcing them to stay closed at night. This means some 56% of births in Kenya occur in homes under the light of kerosene lamps or the dim light of a cellphone, leading to higher health risks for mothers and babies. The Plan International/SkyPower partnership will provide solar kits to rural health clinics, contributing to safer deliveries.
SkyPower solar kits will be provided to schools currently lacking access to electricity, while home solar kits mean children can complete their homework and continue studies after dark and teachers can prepare lessons for the next day.
Benefits for women and girls
Providing solar lamps to villages means key community areas such as water points and latrines can be lit up, improving safety for community members, especially women and girls.
“SkyPower is proud to support Kenya’s leadership’s vision for a sustainable and prosperous society based on modern, green solar energy for all,” said Kerry Adler, SkyPower’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Our partnership with Plan International to distribute 2 million SkyPower Home solar kits to the people of Kenya aligns with SkyPower’s mandate of working with the best partners for the purpose of energising communities around the world by providing them with access to safe, affordable and reliable solar electricity.”
In addition, radio messages supporting education and alerting people to improved lighting conditions at their local health centre will be broadcast, while people will be able to receive these messages through solar-powered radios. Young people will also be trained to provide solar kit repair services in their communities.