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Rotary International: Solar Lights for Kenya

In the remote villages of Nandini and Kyaithani in eastern Kenya. Most cannot afford kerosene or paraffin to light their homes. Which means students cannot see to do their homework in the evenings. The Rotary clubs of Sunshine Coast-Sechelt, British Columbia, and Machakos, Kenya, learned about the problem while working in the area on other projects. In 2014, the Rotarians embarked on a project bring environmentally friendly solar power into homes and schools. What’s a good solution for help? That’s right, Solar Lights for Kenya!

Solar Lights in Kenya

About 1,500 students attending local schools were each provided a solar light under a rent-to-own program; students pay $1 per month, less than the cost of paraffin, for eight months, after which they own the light. Project partner Kenya Connect, noting that the time students spend reading has tripled with the introduction of the solar lights. Described the program as “a game changer in our efforts to improve the quality of education for rural schools.”

The project also included the construction of computer labs at two schools and a solar system to provide enough power for the entire setup. More than 200 teachers received training on digital learning and ways to better make use of computers in their teaching.

This story originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Rotary magazine.

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