Make no mistake; rural dwellers love the company of their phones as much as city dwellers do theirs; as such they go to great lengths, like traveling to nearby towns and villages, to ensure their phones are charged.
Dora Adotey, 25, is a resident of Brekusu in the Eastern Region who use to travel all the way to Kwabenya in the Greater Accra Region just to charge her phone and that of friends and family during power outages.
Not only does Dora no longer have to travel just to charge phones, she now has a job – charging phones for members of her community in a solar-powered kiosk sited near her house.
But charging phones is only one of the several functions Solarkiosk provides; it has on sale to members of communities various forms of rechargeable solar lamps and other gadgets; the kiosk is equipped with a refrigerator where members of communities can buy chilled drinks, water and what have you.
Also, football lovers in rural communities no longer have to travel several miles to see their favourite teams play; Solakioski is equipped with a flat screen TV set for the viewing pleasure of community members.
Lars Kruckeberg is a German architect who was working on a children’s hospital project in Ethiopia when he was hit by the lack of electricity in rural Africa, hence the birth of Solarkiosk.
“We bring quality energy products that will save some money because they are cheaper and they are clean. We also bring entertainment; we have a screen that you can use for education if you want but you can also use it to see the Bundesliga or Ghana playing Germany [laughs].”
Powered by a two-kilowatt solar panel set, Lars Kruckeberg said nearby shops can also benefit from the power Solarkiosk enjoys.
“We want to also do water purification as well. That is very important to us,” he said.
Brekusu is the first of five communities in Ghana that are benefiting from the pilot project of SolarKiosk, a project supported by Coca Cola in what is known as the Eco Centre project. Next year, twenty more communities will benefit.
JCS Investments Limited, a Ghanaian social investment company, facilitated the start-up in Ghana and is responsible for running Solarkiosk.
Patricia Safo, MD of JCS Investments and Solarkiosk said her company views renewable energy as being very important to providing alternative power to Ghanaians and empowering rural communities.
“We are very proud that within a period of six months we have been able to provide Solarkiosk in five different communities in Ghana and that is not an easy task. We hope we can continue to provide more to a lot more communities in the coming years,” she said.
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