GreenLamp's Kathleen Hedman on Evaluation and Communication
Fundraising is a big part of the GreenLamp effort, but the after-care aspect is even more important as we continue to monitor and evaluate the success of our projects. We have always worked closely with local partners to ensure that our help is practical, sustainable and appropriate, so when we discovered on our recent visit that there were some maintenance challenges with some of the Solar Suitcases we had funded, Kathleen and team knew exactly who to call!
"The Solar Suitcases are very robust and well suited to the environment they are used in, but even the best technology can glitch from time to time. We realised that the biggest difficulty was that no-one locally in the health centers had reported the problems with the Solar Suitcases. Upon investigation it became clear this was due to a combination of poor infrastructure, inadequate funds and communication difficulties
To address this issue, we worked with the local Regional Health Bureau to devise some new procedures. Each time the
Bureau staff visit the health centers they will also check the Solar Suitcases. A new improved battery replacement process has also been implemented, and each Solar Suitcase now has its own log book where any technical issues can be noted. GreenLamp has also been liaising with We Care Solar, creators of the Solar Suitcases, who will be providing ‘refresher’ training courses on how to address these issues, how to use the suitcases properly and how to maintain them. More of the health center staff will also be included in the technical training.
I am happy that these issues can be improved by working with all parties involved to tweak the communications channels, spreading the responsibility for reporting and putting in place a simple system. It is really necessary to pull everyone together in the process to ensure the Solar Suitcases can go on providing the much-needed light and power to these often extremely remote health centers.”