Solarize West Africa: US and West African Nonprofits Partnering to Raise the Standard of Living
Through our own experiences, conversations with non-profit partners and beneficiary communities, VIDA has documented the need of electricity in West Africa that is inaccessible to many people in developing countries, and ensuring access to reliable energy services is a massive challenge.
Solarize Ghana (part of VIDA’s Solarize West Africa program) is helping over 2,500 people in disadvantaged communities meet their basic needs in several important ways. By providing solar electricity the project enables communities to expand educational opportunities and access to other resources for children and adults. Solarize Ghana accomplishes this by installing solar power and lighting to existing schools, technical training centers, and community centers which enable evening and night time operation of the buildings. Installing solar power at a rural medical clinic in northern Ghana will provide a consistent energy supply for doctors to refrigerate critical vaccines.
Providing solar ovens and solar water sterilization drastically reduces exposure to indoor air pollution from cooking with wood and coal, and it reduces exposure to waterborne illnesses. In addition, by partnering with Ghanaian non-profit organizations the project will encourage locally-supported and funded replication in other communities. VIDA has been approached by several Ghanaian non-profits who are traveling with the Solarize Ghana team to learn and repeat VIDA’s proven assessment, implementation, and maintenance programs for solar power installation.
VIDA collaborates with local communities represented by non-profits in the region to effectively assess and plan projects in rural Ghana that address community needs. These key partnerships with local organizations enable the VIDA team to implement solutions while also providing training and resources which promote project sustainability and enable project replication in other communities. VIDA understands the issues at hand and has developed a feasible plan to implement beneficial, replicable, long-term, sustainable solutions to several fundamental infrastructure issues currently faced in rural Ghanaian communities.
VIDA has already completed several of the solar installations and is gearing up for a large 10 week trip through Ghana on a school bus to complete the final 8 solar installations. The team will travel on the SolBus—a 40-foot school bus that is being retrofitted, packed with solar equipment and tools, and then shipped from Huston, Texas to Accra, Ghana. The eight-person implementation team, which consists of Americans and Ghanaians, will spend five to seven days in each Solarize Ghana community installing solar power infrastructure, leading educational workshops, and building knowledge of and support for solar energy.
The Solarize Ghana project is the culmination of a year of planning, assessing, and coordinating with VIDA’s Ghanaian non-profit partners and beneficiary communities. Six of the solar installations will provide electricity to areas where electricity is currently unavailable. The other two installations will remove the communities’ reliance on an inconsistent power grid by replacing gas generators. A film crew will be traveling with the team to document this groundbreaking project.
More About This Charity
Small Charity of the Year
Volunteers for International Development and Aid
To undertake construction and social development projects that enrich the quality of life in communities worldwide.
- This Achievement alone raised $180,000
- This charity raised $220,000 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 2,000 since January 1, 2011
- Evening classes for 1,000 students (solar powered lights). Solar powered medical clinic refrigerator- 100′s of vaccinations, laptop charging for 100′s .
Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone