Last month, Let There Be Light International (LTBLI) implemented one of its most comprehensive solar projects to-date. Working in cooperation with local stakeholders and another US-based nonprofit, LTBLI launched three (3) of its signature solar projects in the Amolatar District, a remote and highly vulnerable area in central Uganda. The projects included: the solar-electrification of an off-grid rural health clinic, Acii Health Center II; the launch of our maternal and infant health project, Safe Births + Healthy Homes (SB+HH) at a previously solar-electrified clinic, Biko Health Center III; and the donation and distribution of solar lights to vulnerable students via our Lights 4 Literacy program.
LTBLI’s implementation partner, Solar Health Uganda (SHU) spent months working with LTBLI, local stakeholders and Far Away Friends to create needs assessments, scoping reports and sourcing materials. Due to the remote location, we realized that the cost to repeatedly visit the area to slowly implement multiple projects would be prohibitive. Therefore, the SHU team and a team of electricians left their offices on the outskirts of Kampala in the middle of the night with two trucks filled with solar panels and solar lights in order to arrive on-site after five hours on the road and a morning boat trip across Lake Kyoga. Despite the arduous journey, launching solar projects in Amolatar fit nicely into LTBLI’s mission to “serve the furthest first.” According to George Mike of Solar Health Uganda, “It is a rural district with off-grid communities striving to access quality health services and education on a daily basis.”
Our Solar Projects
The team was met by a jubilant community welcoming them to Amolatar. After dancing and singing and speeches of thanks, the host community led the SHU teams to the 3 sites. The largest project was the launch of SB+HH at Biko HCIII where staff and Village Health Teams (VHTs) were educated about the benefits of solar lighting and the importance of new mothers giving birth with the help of a trained birth attendant rather than in the community where complications are many. The clinic also received educational posters translated into the local language, tablet computers for data collection, training on using the tablets, fliers, and 250 pico solar lights. The solar lights will be given to new mothers who use the clinic facilities so that they can safely care for their newborn babies in their homes after the critical birth event.
A Solar-Electrified Clinic and Lights 4 literacy
The team also delivered solar equipment to Acii Health Center II, a frontline clinic sponsored by Ron and Johanna Melchiore’s generous donation. There, the electricians got to work wiring and installing the system to power 3 clinic blocks and the staff quarters. Finally, the team donated children’s books and solar lights to 150 at-risk off-grid students. Stakeholders in the Lights4Literacy project included Enjuba, who supplied the books, and Far Away Friends and the Global Leadership School. The Amolatar District Education Officer gave a speech and praised the project. A student at the event excitedly said: “This light will help me to read!” On behalf of Let There Be Light International, we hope that our solar projects allow the community to Shine On!