Sustainable Solar Suitcases through strong partnerships
The aim of the recent GreenLamp Project Team field trip earlier in 2019 was to visit health centres in the SNNPR region, a region where we had not yet been, some with a Solar Suitcase installed, as well as two with Hamlin midwives who were on the list to possibly receive one. We wanted to check for ourselves and with our partners from Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and Solar Energy Foundation, the status of the health centres so that together we had a solid plan for improving the maintenance and other issues on the ground going forward. We feel confident our partnership involving more refresher training, in addition to follow-up and maintenance with the Solar Energy Foundation, will complement Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia in the field and will lead to better use and increased sustainability of the GreenLamp funded Solar Suitcases. There have been some challenges to face getting to this point with our Solar Suitcase Light for Life programme, but with the willingness to take the lead, plus attentive listening, perseverance and hard work, a great collaboration has been achieved. For a better understanding of the background to this programme, continue to read a short summary from Kathleen Hedman in our Project Team:
“When our Light for Life programme was initiated in 2014, the plan was fairly straight-forward: the Solar Suitcases were installed by a skilled Hamlin team from Addis who had received adequate training from our supplier We Care Solar, the overall supervision and maintenance plus replacement of the batteries would be the responsibility of the regional health authorities. Our partner Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia would provide support and follow-up, but the main maintenance tasks were to be handled by the authorities locally, in the five regions.
Life does not always go according to plan and unfortunately it became evident after various reports and field trips that the plan was not working completely as the regional health bureaus did not have the required experience or budget. So GreenLamp has provided more support than we initially planned. We needed to find somebody with competence in the field who could handle the Solar Suitcase technical issues. We also needed someone who could help us replace and import good quality batteries for the initial 164 installations.
This is where our new partner Samson Tsegaye from Solar Energy Foundation Ethiopia came in. Training is a key element to ensuring the Solar Suitcase are used properly and Samson will lead training for midwives and technical staff, as well as taking care of all the maintenance and battery replacements."
See the work Solar Energy Foundation is doing in this very short movie: https://youtu.be/K4jv0xlbuQs.
For more in-depth information on the Solar Energy Foundation go to: https://solar-energy-foundation.org/