Care centres to be electrified with solar power
With an area of more than 25,000 square kilometres, Shabunda is the largest region in the province of South Kivu in the Congo with a population of more than one million. Despite its size, the infrastructure there is still very insubstantial. There are hardly any roads and no electricity grid. And the people of Shabunda are still suffering from the consequences of the civil war that has gone on for decades.
In this conflict, armed groups have raped more than 500,000 women. As a result of the rape, many women have become outsiders in their community and lead an isolated life. Special care centres have been set up to support these women. The centres help them by providing legal advice, medical assistance, education or entrepreneurial skills. Since none of these health centres have electricity, they are severely limited in what they can do.
With electricity, the care centres can refrigerate medicines, utilise analytical equipment, use computers, charge mobile devices, and have light. They would thus be able to provide the women with much better care. Solar panels are a good option as an electricity supply. The Congolese organisation GIERI installs the systems and also trains people in installation and maintenance.
GIERI is a registered non-profit organisation. It supports communities in South Kivu and is involved in many areas: nutrition, conservation and environmental rehabilitation, community development, socio-economic empowerment of young people and reintegration into the workforce. GIERI works directly with low-income households and relies on community participation in its projects.
In addition to local experience, GIERI also has qualified solar energy engineers, who have already installed solar systems in medical centres and homes.
The main beneficiaries of the project are three medical centres and one centre for women victims of rape in the villages of Shabunda, Walungu and Kabare. Ten solar panels with solar batteries will be installed in each medical centre. This will enable the medical centres to use a 165-liter refrigerator, a 150-liter refrigerator, lighting for five rooms, other medical equipment, computers, and telephones. Ten polycrystalline solar panels will also be installed in each centre for a lighting system, mobile phones and computers.