Reliable electricity supply for Congolese school

How do you learn for school? With books. Where do you find information? In the internet. In Africa, it’s the same as it is here. For both, you need electricity, at least if you read in the evening. Electricity is therefore an important prerequisite for education.

In a school in the Republic of the Congo – like in many other schools on the African continent – there was no sufficient electricity supply, up until recently. The school, where the 80 students also live, only had electricity when their generator was running – every evening for about three hours.

After that, there was simply no electricity. No light for studying, no way of teaching with computers or using them otherwise. Food couldn’t be refrigerated. And lighting the school grounds, which also protects from break-ins, wasn’t an option.

All that is now possible. Together with the school, Gehrlicher installed a solar power system which generates enough electricity to power the computer lab and run a refrigerator as well as light the living quarters, workrooms and school grounds. Lessons in the computer lab now take place at normal times of day and the students can study when it’s dark outside, without damaging their eyes by reading with a flashlight.

Project coordinator Elisa Stute: “Gehrlicher demanded lots of own initiative from the school in this project. We see a high interest from the school as a prerequisite for making sure that the system is maintained, ensuring that education chances are really improved in the long-term.”

In addition, the solar power system teaches a sustainable way of life: solar energy instead of generator electricity is good for the environment, doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t make noise. Conscientious use of limited electricity supply encourages awareness about the finiteness of resources.

If this way of thinking is conveyed to even only some of the students, then the project is one step further toward energy supply on the African continent, which doesn’t repeat our mistakes, but focuses on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and nuclear power – and especially the sunshine which is constantly available there.

Further information about the Off-Grid Solutions department’s work can be found here.