Solar energy powers clean water, business opportunities for refugees
Solar energy powers clean water, business opportunities for refugees.
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water.
“She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi.
“I always ensure that my children use clean and safe water,” he said.
“I have instructed them to wash their hands with soap after using a toilet.” Thenest, who works as a technician with international engineering charity Water Mission, said the health situation in the camp is improving as more people get access to clean water from a recently installed solar-powered water treatment facility.
As part of a broader initiative to help refugees access clean energy and sanitation, Water Mission is installing more such plants in three refugee camps in western Tanzania.
The $5.3 million project, funded by the Denmark-based Poul Due Jensen Foundation, is expected to provide safe water for some 250,000 refugees in Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli camps.
“We will document saved lives and ensure general public health, as a result of safe water,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A recent shipment of 780 solar panels to Tanzania will produce 226,000 watts of power and provide a continuous supply of safe water to keep children in good health, it said in a statement.
Yet while access to clean energy for refugees and their host communities is a global priority for UNHCR, analysts say millions of displaced people still lack access to sustainable, cheap energy sources because of a lack of funding.