Air pollution remains a critical challenge facing Africa and is one of the most pressing environing mental problem. Air pollution is accountable for major harmful effects on human strength, animal survives, natural ecosystems and the man-made environment. Household emissions from kerosene wick lamps can rise from homes and impact local ambient air pollution in villages as well as urban settings. The black carbon emissions are highlighted to be risks of chronic respiratory diseases and pre-mature deaths each year by the World Health Organization.
While participating in an exchange program in the United States in four years ago, I identified the need for clean renewable energy as a solution step to solving this conservation challenge facing my village of Msangeni. Electrifying rural areas poses unique challenge for the government of Tanzania and private sector companies that are aiming to increase power connectivity in rural areas, since many rural areas are isolated which increases cost of capital infrastructure for electricity distribution. However, this challenge also presents opportunities for innovation: photovoltaic and solar power systems are ideal solutions for areas without grid connection in rural Tanzania. There is abundant sunlight in Tanzania all year round; taping this free and clean energy source is a viable solution. Since rural households do not consume much power, solar power is a cheaper, safer alternative to electricity, especially in cases where solar infrastructure can be established.
At the conclusion of my 2012 United States Youth Leadership Exchange Program in Washington D.C, a $100 micro-grant from the program enabled me to start a chicken farm at my school in Msangeni. With the profit from this project, I invested $500 in solar products produced by Global Cycle Solutions. As the solar project developed, I became a representative for the company delivering solar lanterns to Msangeni village and nearby communities. This was important because I started it as a way to implement lamp-replacement to develop and distribute affordable alternatives, by considering the collective impact of millions of households in Africa on their move on poor lighting that affects the continent and the planet.
My efforts made it easier to bring solar power as a sustainable clean energy source to the communities, which is cost effective and scalable technology resulting in multiple co-benefits to human health, livelihoods and climate. In addition, the new lighting system created additional health and development benefits, such as extended study hours for school children, open hours for small village shops and enabling more productive activities to take place after dark. My efforts were successful, but over the course of the project I realized that small scale technologies are not enough. Tanzania’s villages and Africa need solar technology on a larger scale. Our benevolent climate and real need for clean, affordable energy position us to become global leaders in the development of solar technologies. To ensure that this happens, I intend to work toward the development of sustainable energy technologies on both the micro and macro scales.