The Netherlands last week launched a pilot study, introducing Dutch-designed solar lights and chargers to Namibian communities off the national grid to establish their effect and value.
Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen led her office in distributing 250 ‘Waka Waka’ units to the Orange Babies Namibia Foundation, Gondwana Memes and the Hanasaneye Foundation.
The solar units are capable of producing up to 150 hours of bright LED light, and alternatively can be used as smartphonechargers.
“We wish to make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian people’s prosperity, with something maybe as simple as having access to lightning and charging,” the minister said at the Orange Babies Pappa Centre in Otjomuise on Tuesday
The Dutch minister cited the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2009/2010, which found that 42% of Namibian households typically used electricity for lighting, while 38% relied on candles. “Under these conditions, a product like the Waka Waka Power + offers an easy, practical and particularly flexible solution to provide access to lighting and all the added chances it entails, such as social interaction, studies, reading, house chores or simply being able to move about safely at night, or in the early morning,” the parties said in a joint statement issued after the event.
Bringing the product to Namibia was the combined initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation and the Orange Babies Namibia Foundation.
The latter organisation specifically aims to support mothers affected by the HIV virus, as well as vulnerable children. Gondwana Memes, the social responsibility leg of hospitality group the Gondwana Collection, received part of the donation for distribution among schools in Kuisebmond and the JJ Centre at Walvis Bay.
The Hanasaneye Foundation received its share for distribution to the Ombaka Primary School it helped build some 130km outside of the town of Opuwo.
“I trust that good use will be made of the Waka Waka solar-powered lights and hope it improves and contributes to the learning and education of the children at the Pappa House, and the rural areas of Otjozondjupa, Erongo and Kunene, where the pilot project will run as well,” Ploumen said.