Ensuring Solar Suitcase Sustainability
We are big on sustainability at GreenLamp and are ensuring the Solar Suitcases from our first Light for Life Project in 2014 continue to work effectively as their batteries wear out. Our Project Team worked closely with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the Regional Health Bureaus to develop an efficient Battery Replacement Program, recently signing new MOU’s with all five regions of Ethiopia. Here Joanna Boyd from the Project Team tells us more about ensuring local funding and support:
“During our latest trip to Ethiopia GreenLamp met with the Minister for Maternal and Child Health Dr Ephrem to discuss the new “Battery Replacement Program”. This meeting was initiated because the Project Team had discovered that the Regional Health Bureaus (RHB) lacked the budget and capacity to carry out the required maintenance of the Solar Suitcases. To be sustainable long term the installations need to be part of the local infrastructure and be included in the RHB maintenance regimes.
We decided to find out if additional budget could be secured on their behalf for ongoing maintenance and battery replacement purposes, so GreeLamp can step aside from financing this to be able to focus on new Solar Suitcase installations.
Dr Ephrem provided a ray of hope by offering to fund the next round of replacement batteries in 2021-2 from a special foundation grant. This means the Regional Health Bureaus will be encouraged to incorporate the maintenance of the Solar Suitcases long term into their internal processes and regimes, with these grants covering the additional costs.
Dr Ephrem agreed to sign a letter of intent and has committed to support GreenLamp’s Solar Suitcase program in the future. We have a champion at the top!”