Durban, South Africa Dec. 12, 2000 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
Session Two of Day Two of the US-Africa Energy Conference dealt with applications of Clean Technology. Speakers from Kenya, South Africa and Uganda addressed us on issues such as solar and hydro electric power.
Stephen Gitonga discussed the implementation of a hydro-electric power station in various communities in Kenya. He said that the main aim of this project was to improve the livliehood of the people and alleviate poverty.
The participation of the community in this project was vital to its success thus the communities were first made aware of the advantages and benefits of the pending hyro-electric plant. The women's role in the process of builing the plant was manifold. Men were needed as artisans, thus women took over male roles such as agriculture to allow the ment to construct the plant. Added to this, they also provided manpower (excuse the pun) for tasks such as carrying bricks, water and other such labour.
The community was involved in the construction, maintenance and operation of this plant, ensuring its long-term success.
Oumy Khairy Ndiaye spoke on the use of traditional fuels in Uganda. Due to the ever-increasing price of gas, many rural communities were resorting back to the traditional coal burning, contributing to environmental degradation. The Government's contribution to this problem was insufficient, and the private sector was taking advantage of this situation. It still remains to convince the private sector to invest in afforestation programs, although some headway has been made.
Tlami Nkambule gave a report on the effectiveness of solar heating in a Johannesburg informal settlement. This settlement needed hot water for bathing, food preparation and hygiene, and the solar heating unit met with no cultural barriers. However, the relatively small volume capacity was cause for complaint from the community.