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Bye Bye Kerosene! Residents of Ajerberb village welcome solar energy lighting

Residents of Ajerbeb, a remote village in Hamelamalo sub-zoba welcomed the move by the Government, to install solar energy in their homes.At the inauguration ceremony held on 15th November 2017, the residents bid farewell to use of kerosene and adopted to use of clean energy.

“Our villagelooks like a big city, just like Asmara” said an excited resident. The inauguration ceremony was attended by H.E. Mr. Arefaine Berhe, Minister for Agriculture, H.E. Mr. Tesfai Gebreselassie, Minister for Land Water and Environment, Ms. Susan N. Ngongi, UN Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Eritrea, Zoba Anseba Administration and Hamelmalo community.

About 368 homesteads have been fitted with solar pannels, including the primary school in Ajerbeb. The school has not only benefited from lighting but also students can learn computer skills at the school. A computer room has been equipped with four comuters for the learners and two computers for the teachers. Proud parents and teachers are happy that the children can do homework at night. Happy residents told of changed lifestyles through song, dance and drama. An elderly lady gave an account of how smoke had taken toll on her health, affecting her eye sight and causing breathing problems. She said that solar lighting would reduce smoke related and poor lighting related ailments.

Mr. Yacob Idris, the Administrator for Hamelmalo Sub-Zoba said that everyone in the village embraced solar energy lighting and not a single homestead had been left behind. He asked the residents to ensure that the solar pannels and batteries are well maintained so that they can serve them for a long time.

The solar lighting initiative has been effected through the climate change adaptation programme in water and agriculture, which is currently under implementation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Anseba Region. It is supported by UNDP and fundedthrough the Adaptation Fund. One of the innovative aspects for this project is the use of renewable energy to improve the living conditions of rural communities. For example, in Habero sub-zoba, an initiative under this project uses solar energy for water harvesting and pumping water to the irrigated farms ten kilometres away.

Other projects inauguratedon November 15th include the new Bashari Dam that is estimated to irrigate 120 hectares and Ferhin water project by the Government of Eritrea.
Elizabeth Mwaniki, UNDP

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