A small fishing community in Kiunga, Kenya of nearly 3500 people recently became the home to a revolutionary water farm.  Located along the coast of the Indian Ocean, just a few miles from the Somalian border, the solar farm is the first project of its kind. The organization behind the solar water farm is known as GivePower. 

The farm uses solar panels in conjunction with a water desalination system housed in 20-foot shipping containers to transform over 75,000 liters of seawater into drinkable water for the surrounding village and nearby communities. The solar water farm produces enough clean water for over 35,000 people per day. Overall, it is projected to provide at least 20 years of clean water access at a cost of just $20 per person. 

The dry season in this particular area of Kenya can be especially brutal. Kiunga residents must fight for their survival every day. Prior to GivePower constructing their solar farm, the residents of this community only had access to salty, contaminated water. The drought in this region has only contributed negatively to the health and wellness of those living in Kiunga. 

Thanks to solar panels and renewable technology, GivePower has now given the gift of clean water to this tight-knit and deserving community. Footage of these residents experiencing clean water for the first time, all thanks to , is both emotional and powerful. 

Using Solar Energy to Lift Up Communities 

GivePower is revolutionizing the way solar energy is used and distributed – especially for impoverished communities. For the Kiunga, Kenya population, clean water is now at their disposal for drinking, bathing, and cooking. The Kiunga solar farm is just one of several projects that GivePower has successfully implemented throughout the course of its six-year history with solar energy. 

In 2017 after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a humanitarian crisis ensued in the area. Homes, community centers, stores, and powerlines were destroyed, leaving over 300,000 people without power. To help alleviate the power crisis, GivePower worked with several solar organizations to install solar panels on the rooftop of a fire station in the region. Communication and power were restored, helping emergency responders to once again perform their life-saving duties in and around Puerto Rico.  

In regard to the Puerto Rico project, GivePower Executive Director Barrett Raftery stated that, “beyond the direct access to power and water, it’s also been really critical to get into these neglected communities and let them know that people are thinking about them – that we are doing things to enable them to have access to basic human needs again.” His goal for GivePower is to continue to act responsibly and do the best they can to promote sustainable, long-term outcomes by way of . 

GivePower has also installed solar panels for a number of schools in Haiti, which previously had no electricity. Other projects have taken them to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and Nicaragua. GivePower has helped provide sustainable solar energy for more than 2,650 schools across 17 countries, effectively changing the lives of over 400,000 people in impoverished communities. 

Solar Energy is the Answer 

According to the World Health Organization, 71% of the global population in 2017 had access to safe, on-site drinking water that was free of contamination and available when needed. Nearly two billion people, however, consumed drinking water from a source with contaminated water, which contributes to nearly half a million deaths per year. By 2025, it is estimated that nearly half of the world population will be living in a water-stressed area due to drought and climate change. 

Impoverished communities worldwide live in deplorable conditions that seem utterly foreign to those in the suburbs of the United States and other wealthier regions. GivePower is one of the brightest examples we have seen in recent years of how we can use solar power to transform and rebuild communities that are lacking basic resources.  

Solar energy is more than just sustainable power. Solar offers a way for those most in need to live healthy and productive lives. If solar power can sustain communities, it may one day sustain the world. 

Resources: 

https://www.designboom.com/technology/givepower-kenya-solar-power-plant-water-farm-ocean-water-11-27-2019/ 

https://givepower.org/ 

 

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