OVO Foundation funds £1.75m electrification project in Kenya

OVO Foundation has increased its investment in Project Jua, an energy access project implemented by Energy 4 Impact that will benefit 300,000 people across 300 sites in 3 years. Solar energy will power educational equipment in schools and lighting in hospitals in some of Kenya’s poorest and hardest to reach areas, improving young people’s education and health.

Project Jua is supporting the Kenyan Government’s overall electrification programme and helping the country leapfrog the need to power their lives from centralised polluting fossil fuel plants through innovative off-grid solutions.

Project Jua builds on its 2017 pilot, in which Energy 4 Impact, with funding from the OVO Foundation, installed 20 solar systems in two of the poorest counties in Kenya: Turkana and Kilifi.  The success of this pilot demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of delivering off-grid solar and storage on a relatively small scale in the development sector.

By installing solar systems the project aims to connect sites that are currently off-grid or do not have access to reliable energy sources. The power will be used for educational equipment such as tablets and computers – helping to bridge the rural and urban digital divide – as well as lighting in health clinics which is especially important in a country where maternal mortality is more than double the global average.

For millions of people without access to electricity, electrification has brought life-changing benefits, leading to improved education outcomes, a safer environment for children to study at nighttime, and a reliable electricity supply for vaccines and medical equipment.

Project Jua is now expanding to five counties where electrification is far below the national average of 56%, including:

  • Turkana (2.4%)
  • Kwale (10.6%)
  • Taita-Taveta (15%)
  • Kilifi (16.7%)
  • Isiolo (18.5%)

Gaby Sethi, Head of OVO Foundation and CSR, said:

At OVO Foundation we share OVO’s vision to power human progress with clean and affordable energy. Energy is an enabler that lays the foundation for effective and meaningful human development; without it, not much else is possible. We’re delighted to be benefiting 300,000 people over the course of three years, whilst helping to progress three of the Sustainable Development Goals, and supporting the Kenyan government’s national electrification project. By lighting rooms and powering equipment, we are creating a safer environment for those accessing healthcare services and helping bridge the rural/urban digital divide in education.

Godfrey Sanga, Energy 4 Impact’s Director, East Africa said:

We’re thrilled to continue supporting the OVO Foundation’s ambitions to expand energy access in Kenya. This initiative complements the government’s electrification efforts by targeting communities where grid-based solutions are not viable because of their remoteness and high investment cost. We owe the success of the pilot to the overwhelming support by county governments and to the effective partnership with the local communities, schools, health clinics, and Sollatek, the solar equipment supplier. The benefits of a scaled-up programme will extend to the poorest and most deprived people of Kenya.

Key facts:

  • 40% of schools rely on solar panels as their only source of power
  • 80% of schools say they can better carry out educational tasks
  • 50% of schools offering up to 6 hours per day of extra study time

Impact to date:

In some schools, there is just one teacher to 120 students and so being able to power a projector and charge tablets has a significant impact on improving the learning environment and providing children with educational resources.

In health clinics for the first time, nurses are able to use equipment that had never been used before, including oxygen machines which are sometimes vital to keep babies alive when they’re born. Having power also means that health clinics are able to store life-saving vaccines in the fridge.

Source: https://www.energy4impact.org/news/ovo-foundation-funds-%C2%A3175m-electrification-project-kenya