Ethiopia’s population is growing, just like it’s economy. Nevertheless, large parts of the country, especially the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), are still not connected to the national power grid and as a result, rely primarily on wood as a source of energy. Off-grid solutions are the only alternative for many population groups. However, there is a lack of technicians available to install and maintain these systems.
The Hawassa Children’s Organisation (HCO), with its Hawassa Vocational Training Center (HVTC), sees this challenge as an opportunity for the region and the children and young people it cares for. HVTC wishes to promote the practical training of solar technicians and establish itself as a leading training centre for solar technologies. Thereby, HCO plans to lay a foundation for these technologies to spread throughout the region, thus creating jobs for young people.
The Hawassa Children’s Organization was founded in 2003 and is based in Hawassa – the capital of the SNNPR region. HCO currently supports approximately 100 disadvantaged children and young people who grew up as orphans. In its training centre, HVTC prepares young people with skills in the metal, woodworking, textile and computer sectors. HVTC is also one of the few Ethiopian training centres that trains young people on solar applications. Together with HVTC, HCO intends to expand this commitments, overcoming the deficit of a workforce of solar technicians, and thus, creating opportunities for young people.
In order to establish itself as a leading training centre in solar energy, HVTC intends to expand its technology laboratory. This includes purchasing additional equipment for practical exercises, such as measuring instruments, PV components, and batteries. Also needed on site is a 5kWp PV system, to provide for both a consistent and reliable power supply and a tool for demonstration and training. HVTC also plans to further develop its curricula, and to offer three different training programmes. Furthermore, it intends to hire additional trainers, technicians and management experts. Through these interventions, HCO/HVTC will improve its own training capacities, thus creating improving opportunities for young people. After the training, 60 young people will be able to plan, install and maintain PV systems. HCO expects that the training programmes will also improve the living conditions of the local population using the technologies. To this end, it will equip 30 social institutions, including health centers, with solar applications and set up two demonstration fields with solar water pumps. These systems will demonstrate the productive use of solar technology to the trainees, local small-scale farmers and the general public in order to stimulate uptake of these technologies. Finally, HCO will to raise awareness about solar energy to over 3,000 people through a variety of information, education and communication tools.