Mngwangwa Community Day Secondary School

Total Impact: 250 students

Date of Installation: September 2014

Donor: The Frisch School

Summary: The 250 students of Mngwangwa Community Day Secondary School in Lilongwe district, Malawi weren’t performing well on their exams. Once the school day ended, the students had to gather wood and fetch dirty water for their families. By the time they finished and had the chance to sit down to study, the sun had set – leaving them without proper light to study. Headmaster Chimbatato told the Innovation: Africa staff, “his community had dreamed of solar energy for a long time, and if we would provide them with a solar system, they would do their part in maintaining it.” Mngwangwa SS started soliciting small contributions from the students, which would be saved for the cost to replace light bulbs and batteries once the solar system was installed. This upfront investment of energy and time made it evident that their belief in the importance of solar to their community was critical to improving the caliber of education for their children and will bring them one step closer towards a brighter future. In September 2014, Innovation: Africa completed a solar installation at Mngwangwa Community Day Secondary School.

Chankhungu Community Day School

Total Impact: 598 students

Date of Installation: February 2014

Donor: Amy Pardo

Summary: February 14, 2014 Innovation: Africa installed solar energy at both Chankhungu Community Day Secondary School’s classrooms and the Girl’s Hostel rooms located in Dowa district, Malawi. Together, 3 solar panels and 28 light bulbs were installed and today, Chankhungu CDSS has a total of 598 students and 320 adult students that all study by the light of solar energy during the day and night.

N’gozi Full Primary School

Total Impact: 1,117 students

Date of Installation: February 2014

Donor: Sierra Abrams (Online Campaigner)

Summary: Home to 100 families in Dowa district, Malawi, and 5 kilometers from the main electrical grid, is N’gozi Full Primary School that also serves 16 outside villages as the only source of education. 8 classrooms, comprised of 509 boys and 608 girls and 15 teachers, $68 were spent in one term for adequate flashlights and batteries when the students stayed at school to study at night. Innovation: Africa installed solar energy at N’gozi Full Primary School in February 2014, while our team was present to see the smiles across the faces of students that now have the ability to study under the light of solar energy.

Chawantha Primary School

Total Impact: 1,117 students

Date of Installation: March 2015

Donor: Yoav Nahmias

Summary: Located in the district of Lilongwe and 12 kilometers from the electrical grid, 1,712 students don’t have access to electricity in all 10 classrooms for late night studying and reading. The community is one of the poorest villages in Lilongwe – the students’ uniforms aren’t even strictly enforced because almost none of the families can afford them. Yet, parents are asked to contribute Mk 3,000 (equivalent to $7) for paraffin per month and the teachers use kerosene and flashlights to teach at night. In past year, only 35% of students enter Secondary School. As of March 15, 2015, these students lives have drastically changed thanks to Innovation: Africa’s solar installation within each of the classrooms.

Funsani Primary School

Total Impact: 1,250 students

Date of Installation: March 2015

Donor: Adiv Leibstein (Online Campaigner)

Summary: The average classroom in Africa contains wood or mud benches, with three to four children sharing each desk. These children can’t complete their homework or study at night because their classrooms and homes lack electricity, which deprives them of many opportunities to study for exams allowing them to graduate into Secondary School. The Head Teacher of Funsani Primary School, Mr. Dennis Liwonde, said “it was difficult for many of the students to study during the night because they were using small lamps that had poor light.” On January 16th, 2015 in Dowa district of Malawi, the fate of these 1,450 students changed forever. Using solar technologies, Innovation: Africa created facilities where students can do their work in the evenings and today, an average of 90 students from levels 5 through 8 attend 2 night classes per week. Funsani is located 5 kilometers from the grid yet, for the first time in their lives, this distance does not pose as an obstacle to their future. Mr Liwonde says, “students are happy at Funsani Primary School that now they have lights, that makes them study at night comfortably.”

Ndaula Eco Village

Total Impact: 1,250 students

Date of Installation: December 2011 - November 2012

Donor: ADC & Blue door Foundation

Summary: We missed Ndaula the first time we visited at night. We drove right through the village and didn’t even realized we’d passed it. There were no lights, no candles, no kerosene lamps, nothing to mark the schools or medical clinic, nothing to indicate that there were over 37,000 people living in the surrounding area. The day ended at sunset. And if you were a child wanting to study or a woman needing to give birth after 8pm, your only option was darkness. In 2011, Ndaula became the site of Innovation: Africa’s first Eco Village. With a primary and secondary school and a medical clinic all right at the heart of the village, we decided to power all three, and to build a solar powered water pumping system as well. For the people of Ndaula, that meant some big changes. It meant that students of all ages would have a place to study at night, and that adult education in the evening could now be possible. It meant that healthcare would be available 24 hours per day. It meant that clean water would be accessible at centrally located taps and women and girls would no longer need to go searching for water that might make them and their families sick. Ndaula is a different village today than the one we first drove past a few years ago. The bright lights of their solar systems are visible in all directions. The graduation rate of students has increased by 26.5%. Countless hours are saved walking for water, which means more girls can go to school, and more women can work. They are even starting a community garden, which will improve the nutrition of the community, and excess crops can be sold at local markets. Today, Ndaula is a healthier and wealthier village thanks to solar energy. All they needed was the power to help themselves.

Mngwangwa Primary School

Total Impact: 33,277 people

Date of Installation: January 2012

Donor: IEEE

Summary: An average of 47 students would share a single lamp each night at Mngwangwa Primary School when they stayed late in the evening to study and do homework. Naomi was always one of these students. She is 12 years old and wants to be a nurse. She knows that in order to get a nursing degree, she needs to attend a good secondary school—one that will allow her to learn science and prepare her for the exams she’ll need to take just a few years from now. But without electricity and with kerosene shortages, she often found herself crowded around a single lantern with 46 other equally determined students. Innovation: Africa provided solar power to Mngwangwa Primary in 2012 so that Naomi and her peers could all work towards a brighter future. Now, students never need to crowd around lamps and breathe in kerosene fumes in their classrooms. They can sit under the light of solar energy. But light isn’t all we’ve powered there. In July of 2013--because this community and their students demonstrated not only academic excellence but also took great care of their solar system—we sent them a new, energy efficient, and ultra durable computer made by Compulab. Now, the students of Mngwangwa can do more than just continue their studies at night, they have gained a connection to the world outside their village and have the opportunity to learn more than they ever thought possible.

Bright Vision CBO

Total Impact: 200 families

Date of Installation: November 2012

Donor: Dara Bleshman

Summary: Bright Vision Community Based Organization (CBO) serves as a home away from home for 200 orphans and vulnerable children, providing them with not only a feeding program, but school fees assistance, uniforms and books. It also provides people from the surrounding villages with an HIV/AIDS support program, gardening program, adult literacy program, nursery school and vocational training. And all of this is run and supported by volunteers from their own community. But when we met them, each night after sunset the programs would stop. Without light, they couldn’t continue serving their community after dark. So we provided them with solar energy to continue their programs into the evening hours. Today, after sunset, Bright Vision is filled with children studying for exams. And for those who need them, the CBOs staff and services are available into the night. Bright Vision was already empowering their own community. But with a little extra power, they are able to do a lot more.

Chadza Health Clinic

Total Impact: 44,850  people

Date of Installation: November 2012

Donor: Leith Greenslade

Summary: Chadza Health Centre serves 44,850 people from 38 villages in Lilongwe District. With only one medical assistant and one nurse, the clinic offers 24-hour medical services, seeing over 100 patients per day and delivering an average of 40 babies per month, half of them after dark. But these nighttime births were dangerous. With only the light of a kerosene lamp, the nurse could barely see her patients. And without electricity for a refrigerator, those 40 children born each month were not vaccinated against preventable disease. Innovation: Africa provided Chadza Health Centre with solar energy to power lights inside and outside the clinic, and a refrigerator to store vaccines. For the first time, women from all 38 villages served by this facility are able to safely deliver their babies at night, and know that their children have received the vaccines they need to grow healthy and strong.

Kapanga Health Clinic

Total Impact: 71,626 people

Date of Installation: November 2012

Donor: Shaanan Melerstein

summary: Kapanga Health Centre serves 40,000 people from 130 villages in Mchinji District. They offer services such as reproductive health, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, emergency surgery, dental care and maternity services. The staff at the clinic sees up to 300 patients every day and delivers 50 babies every month, 30 of them at night. But with patients coming from over 100km away, many of those seeking urgent care and maternity services struggled to find the clinic in the dark. Staff would use flashlights and light fires to see patients and make the facility visible to those walking from distant villages. But it was never enough. Now, with the installation of solar energy, Kapanga Health Centre’s staff just flips a switch when the sun goes down and their clinic is visible in all directions. They can offer proper 24-hour services, they can store medicines and vaccines and they know that their patients can reach them and receive quality care at any time of day or night.

Chimwa Secondary School

Total Impact: 400 students

Date of Installation:  March 2012

Donor: David Werber

summary: We first met Zione (19,), Tanesi (17) and Joyce (17) in early 2012. They all shared one common goal: to change the fact that in the history of their secondary school, only one girl had ever passed the final national exam. Zione wants to be an agricultural extension worker, Tanesi hopes to be a teacher one day, and Joyce loves biology and plans to go to nursing school. Because their families live 10-15km away from school, they spoke to their parents about leaving home and moving to a hostel near Chimwa Secondary. That way they could stay late in their classrooms, using the small library and spending extra time with their teachers. Their families agreed, but had little money to spare, and so the girls lived on a small allowance, eating maize they carried from home, and buying dried fish or fresh vegetables to supplement their diet. Because they couldn’t afford kerosene lamps, they’d share a single small candle each night, huddling around the dim light, straining their eyes to get their work done. Inspired by the dedication of these girls and their peers, we installed solar panels at Chimwa Secondary School in March of 2012, less than four months before the national exam in June. From the first evening after the installation, the classrooms were full of students who came in to study. No more candles or kerosene lamps. No more huddling or squinting. Only 20% of students attending Chimwa graduated in 2011, but after the installation of solar energy, that number rose to 53% in 2012. Zione, Tanesi and Joyce broke the record they set out to, and are now all off to work on their higher education. But those three girls have inspired others, and a new generation of students are working towards their own brighter future.

Kafinya Primary School

Total Impact: 1,226 students

Date of Installation:  May 2012

Donor: Richard Hirsch (Wolossof Foundation)

Summary: The students and parents of Kafinya Primary School didn’t think solar was an option for them. They had seen solar tried before—and they saw it fail. Not only does it take money to install the system, it takes money to maintain it too. Light bulbs need to be replaced and new batteries need to be purchased every 3-5 years. They knew that the candles and kerosene lamps they were using at night to study and learn were potentially dangerous, but they didn’t see themselves as having another choice. Innovation: Africa installed solar energy at Kafinya on May 14th of 2012, but before we did, we met with select members of the community and helped them to set up a solar powered phone charging business. Anyone with a phone in the village would be able to charge it at the school rather than traveling to the nearest town with electricity. They would pay for the service, and those funds would be deposited into a bank account that the community could use for project maintenance. The people of Kafinya loved it. They understood this business was the key to the sustainability of their project, and so they set out to educate the community. A group of parents put on a play for the whole village in which they shared this message. They sang. They acted. There was even a poem. Today, people from villages all around Kafinya come in to use the phone charging station and the light at night. Students are no longer using candles and kerosene lamps to study. Adult education courses are now offered in the evening. And as with all of our solar projects, because of their phone charging station, the people of Kafinya will be able to sustain their own project for many years to come.

Ukwe Health Center

Total Impact: 36,418 people

Date of Installation:  May 2011

Donor: Young Hirsch Division of the Hirsch Foundation

Summary: Established over thirty years ago, ukwe health clinic provides 24-hour care to more than 30,000 people, with only one nurse that also serves as the clinic’s midwife. for years, patients at ukwe were treated in the dark. women gave birth next to kerosene lamps, and newborn babies took their first breath inhaling dangerous fumes. ten years ago, the malawian government installed solar power at ukwe, but over time, they found that they could not afford to replace light bulbs and batteries or maintain the solar system. because the project was not sustainable, ukwe had to return to serving its patients in the dark, once again using candles and kerosene. the solar refrigerator meant to store vaccines broke down, and children once again remained without immunizations. innovation africa, with permission from the local government, decided to rehabilitate this project. with our improved technologies and sustainability program in place, ukwe once again has access to solar energy. this time, with income from the solar micro-business we install at each of our projects, the people of ukwe can maintain their project themselves. the clinic serving 30,000 people can count on 24 hour lighting and solar powered refrigeration for the first time in years, restoring their faith in sustainable energy and improving healthcare in their community.

Kapudzama CBO

Total Impact: 1,200 students

Date of Installation:  February 2011

Donor: CJP/Temple Beth Avodah

Summary: kapudzama community based organization (cbo) provides free nursery school, vocational training and HIV/AIDS education, counseling, and care to a community of 1,200 people and 500 orphans and vulnerable children. they also have a band, a soccer team, and a drama club. electricity has never been an option for the people of kapudzama, who live miles away from the nearest town with electricity. without light, the facility could not offer its services after sunset, and was forced to close in the evenings. in february of 2011, innovation africa installed solar energy on the roof of kapudzama cbo, providing both light in the facility and electricity for a computer lab. now, with light and power, kapudzama can open its doors even at night and become a study center for the children of the community. it can also begin to offer evening activities and services, providing a brighter future to an entire community.

 

The computers at kapudzama computer lab, which will offer IT courses to both students and adults, will be provided by our malawi partner,  goods4good >

Mingongo Health Center

Total Impact: 27,000 people

Date of Installation:  January 2012

Donor: Amy Pardo

Summary: For most of us, diseases like polio, measles and tuberculosis are a thing of the past. But in Mingogo, Malawi, vaccines are not to be taken for granted. The problem is refrigeration. The government issues vaccines, but without electricity to power rural refrigerators, there’s no place to store them. It doesn’t take much to power a refrigerator, and Innovation: Africa installed solar energy at the clinic in early 2012. In their first year, the clinic staff issued over 25,000 vaccines. Since the clinic technically only serves 27,000 people, we realized mothers were brining their children in from countless surrounding villages because they heard about the vaccine refrigerator. And now, that number is growing. More women are coming in to give birth under the light of solar energy, and bringing in their children to receive the newly available immunization services. All it took was two solar panels and a refrigerator, and now the people of Mingongo and its surrounding villages are finally receiving the care they deserve.

Nthondo Health Clinic

Total Impact: 37,000 people

Date of Installation:  June 2012

Donor: Young Hirsch Division of the Hirsch Foundation

Summary: When we first visited Nthondo Health Centre in 2012, it looked like the facility was closed. It was 10pm, and there was no light or sound. We walked around the back of the clinic and saw a single candle in a room, and one woman next to it waiting to give birth. As our eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light, more people began to appear. We realized there were 13 patients in that room with us, all of whom were seeking care. We watched as the nurse attempted to tend to each one, moving the candle with her as she treated one and then the next. We asked her how she does it—how she offers care at night with just one candle. She answered that that her patients’ lives are at risk because she cannot see them, but she does the best she can with what she has. When we powered Nthondo Health Centre with solar energy just a few months later, this nurse proudly flipped on the light switch as the community celebrated. Chief Chasa—one of the many chiefs in attendance that day--explained that without light, many patients served by Nthondo Health Centre never had a chance at proper health care. But with light bulbs and a refrigerator for medicine and vaccines, there is new hope in their community for them to become a healthier village. "We feel like we have just been resurrected,” he said. And the nurse agreed. Now, when we visit Nthondo Village, we find patients in bright rooms receiving quality medical care at all times of day and night.

Chikowa Health Center

Total Impact: 57,302 people

Date of Installation:  April 2012

Donor: Energy Bar

Summary: Chikowa Medical Clinic serves an area of over 57,000 people, but have only two healthcare professionals. They are understaffed and underfunded. Because they didn’t even have a budget for kerosene, women seeking professional maternity services were asked to bring three candles in case their labor went into the night. The problem was that many women couldn’t afford these candles. And the only place to buy them was in a town as far as 10km away. Rather than risk embarrassment, many women would choose to give birth at home without candles or skilled health workers. In Malawi, one in every 36 women dies in childbirth. When we learned that something as simple as the cost of candles was keeping women from the maternity care they deserved, we immediately installed solar energy at the facility. Today, the clinic shines brightly at night and there’s no need for any woman to bring her own candles. For the first time, all women in the 216 villages surrounding the clinic have access to the maternity services they deserve.

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