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This idea offers solar microfinance as a tool that, combined with increased social cohesion, might effectively empower communities to enjoy a better quality of life, locally and sustainably.  It attempts to directly address physical elements of unsaf

This idea offers solar microfinance as a tool that, combined with increased social cohesion, might effectively empower communities to enjoy a better quality of life, locally and sustainably. It attempts to directly address physical elements of unsaf

Photo of Alexis Rourk Reyes
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Alexis commented on Solar EMpowered Communities

Thanks Luisa. In my particular community, I have found that the most desired elements of this idea would really be the economic and social ones. I've only heard of one building here in Puntarenas that uses solar power and we get a LOT of sun. In other parts of the country, solar is used in rural areas for water pumps, etc., but the public utility seems to control most of the street lights. However, at least where I live, the lights do burn out or are stolen fairly often. Theft would be a possible limitation to solar power here as well as the climate demanding very regular maintenance. The buildings are generally all one-level though so access is not a challenge, nor would be setting up an off-grid network as the buildings are all connected for the most part. From what I've learned about solar power thus far, it seems to be a good fit.

As far as the social and economic impact, I think a program like this one could be a big help here. Of course, the extra income available would make a difference in the lives of women and families in general. Though electricity is widely available, electric bills are also relatively very high. People here work miracles with such limited amounts of money to care for their families. Also, I think a program like this would open up a whole new market of evening community activities and opportunities for food sales. The training in solar panel installation and maintenance would also provide skills that can be used right away, as opposed to the future, which could be a good incentive. In a place where unemployment is closely related to the thefts and muggings that frequently occur, opportunities to add more local income that is circulated within the community could have a big impact.

I recently I added more details about the community I live in to my submission in case you want to check it out and/or let me know if you think any other specific info might be helpful to envisioning how this might work here. In the meantime, I am thinking more about how the core elements of this idea might be packaged and tailored for other places, as every community has unique physical and social aspects. Thanks again for your comment!

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Alexis commented on Solar EMpowered Communities

Thanks so much, Tony. Wow, those are pretty amazing results! This is example is really helpful, especially as it ties in the various social and physical factors at play. I'm so glad to see that emphasizing community buy-in and promoting pride of place were found to be so impactful.

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Alexis commented on Solar EMpowered Communities

Thank you , Lamek! I really like your idea also and would love to share more ideas. I have read about other examples of solar lights being important for students and women, and I think your idea really has potential for impact in many places. What is the outdoor or street lighting like in Kisumu City?