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Project Jua picks up pace, powering 300 schools and health clinics

OVO has over 1 million UK customers, but 1 billion people across the world lack any access to electricity, including 600 million in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, we launched ‘Project Jua’ and installed solar panels on 20 schools and health clinics in rural Kenya. Our way of doing something to address this inequality.

Posted:

13 May 2019

This year, we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be funding our biggest project to date – electrifying 300 schools and health clinics in some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the country over the next 12 months. This will form part of a £1.75m project that spans 4 years and will positively impact thousands of children and young people.

‘Jua’ means ‘sunshine’ in Swahili. The perfect name for a project that installs solar panels on schools and health clinics in rural Kenya.

OVO Foundation shares OVO’s vision of powering human progress with clean, abundant energy for all. Without power, children don’t have light to learn by. Health clinics can’t power basic equipment. And communities aren’t empowered to grow.

When you think about it, not much is possible without energy. It’s an enabler that lays the foundation for effective and meaningful human development.

Why Kenya?

Great question! In Kenya, electrification stands at just 56% which means almost half the population in Kenya don’t have access to energy. Many social institutions like schools and health clinics won’t be connected to the grid, and when they are, power cuts are common, making energy access unreliable.

These sites will often use expensive and polluting diesel generators, so solar energy provides a cost-effective and clean alternative. Benefiting communities and the world’s climate. We’ve even built a carbon emissions target into the project.

Changing lives and saving the planet too

Through Project Jua, we’re supporting the government’s overall electrification programme and helping the country leapfrog ahead. Not once but twice. Skipping both polluting fossil fuels and, often, the electricity grid itself. What’s more, by using affordable, clean energy to help progress good health and education, we’re also aligning with three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

By lighting rooms and powering equipment, we’re creating a safer environment for those accessing healthcare services. And we’re helping bridge the rural/urban digital divide in education. Power will be used for things like:

  • Lighting classrooms to enable children to study longer.
  • Lighting for security at night.
  • Lighting in health clinics to ensure health professionals are able to work safely at night.
  • Powering educational equipment like tablets and computers – bringing it to people who haven’t had access to it before and harnessing its benefits for rural education.
  • Powering lifesaving health equipment like fridges (for storing life-saving vaccines safely) and oxygen machines and incubators, which can save lives before and after childbirth.

Powering a brighter tomorrow

One of the big challenges for those working on solar projects lies with the lack of data. For instance, energy companies and local authorities need to know how much power people, and institutions, actually need, so they can improve supply for the future.

In Project Jua, we’re tackling this by installing remote monitoring systems (similar to smart meters) at each site, so that we’ll have 3 years of rich data by the end of the project – enabling us to assess energy production and consumption at each site and most importantly, share this information with others in the sector.

Watch this space!

We’re really excited about the impact of Project Jua. And we’re so grateful to every OVO customer who donates to OVO Foundation via their bill every month. As the project progresses and the results unfold, we’ll be in touch to keep you updated about the amazing things you’re helping to fund.

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