Lack of access to energy is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. If, on the other hand, sufficient electricity is available, healthcare provision is strengthened, educational opportunities are better, the economy can develop, and there are more jobs and income. However, it will take a long time before the power grid in Benin’s rural regions reaches each and every one. Those who can, make do with expensive and climate-damaging diesel generators. Poorer households invest much of their income and time in obtaining unhealthy energy sources, such as charcoal or firewood, for cooking.
Off-grid solutions, such as small, individual solar systems, can help overcome energy poverty in rural Benin and improve local value-creation. This requires expertise on the ground to plan, build and operate renewable energy applications. The TierraSol organisation therefore wants to train specialists in renewable energies, such as photovoltaics, in rural Benin, thus making sustainable electrification possible in the long-term.
The Beninese non-governmental organisation, TierraSol Benin, founded in 2019, is implementing the project in the Abomey region. Its members, who are all volunteers, contribute their individual technical and administrative expertise.
TierraSol is supported by the German partner organisation, Brücken bauen mit der Sonne e. V., which promotes solar plants in Africa.
The core of the project is a three-month training course on solar energy, conducted by a dedicated team of trainers from TierraSol Benin. The training consists of four modules of 22 hours per week, within a total duration of 24 weeks, so that the initially 15 participants can attend the courses part-time. The target group is young women and men who have just finished school, or have equivalent skills. The TierraSol team designed the training programme itself. For the lessons, the organisation rents a small training-room and procures demonstration and learning materials for the participants.
One-third of the course covers the theory of solar energy applications, and two-thirds, the practical application. At the end