2008 was an extraordinary year of accomplishment and transition for SELF. The projects you’ll find described in our annual report have taken our work to new levels:
- In Benin, West Africa, our Solar Market Gardens – solar-powered drip irrigation systems – have vastly improved villagers’ nutrition and income;
- Building on our collaboration with the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, SELF has begun solar-electrifying clinics across Rwanda and Lesotho through our Solar Health Care Partnership with Partners In Health, the organization co-founded by Dr. Paul Farmer; and
- In the Eastern Cape, South Africa, our Solar Rural Schools Project – installing and powering computer labs, Internet access and learning software – is bringing the world to one of its remotest corners.
We’re glad to report that our support came from both individuals and institutions; thank you for your help:
- Installed more than 32 kilowatts (kW) of solar electric systems in 5 health clinics and 3 schools;
- Impacted more than 55,000 people in Rwanda, Lesotho, Benin and South Africa;
- Bridged the digital divide for over 3,000 students and their families in the remote Eastern Cape province of South Africa;
- Continued monitoring and evaluating the success of our multi-phase solar drip irrigation project in Benin; added training and introduction of new seed varieties;
- Began design and installation of solar electric systems for 5 additional health centers in Rwanda to be completed in January 2009;
- Completed assessments and site planning for the electrification of 10 health clinics in Haiti, 6 clinics in Rwanda and 1 clinic in Burundi; and
- Began preparations for the “whole village” electrification of two villages in Benin; this phase will supply power for drinking water wells, home and street lighting, schools, health clinics, and microenterprise centers.
On the verge of our 20th anniversary, we are now poised to harness the rising tide of awareness and fight two of the greatest challenges of the century: climate change and energy poverty.