The project’s overall objective is to provide rural areas with affordable and environmental friendly off-grid energy as well as clean drinking water, while coevally opening the chance for employment, entrepreneurship and education.
Against this background, so-called Water-Energy Hubs (WE!Hubs) will be built at different locations in rural and peri-urban Kenya. The WE!Hubs offer solar-operated lanterns, batteries and lamps for rent, which are being recharged at the Hubs. These lighting products have been expressly developed for the domestic use and night fishing, aiming at replacing the use of expensive and environmentally problematic kerosene lamps in areas where lighting is most needed. Beyond that, a solar operated water purifier is affiliated to each Hub, filtering rain- and groundwater into pure and clean drinking water. The water therefore undergoes a physical treatment so that bacteria and viruses are removed.
The WE!Hubs additionally offer a mobile phone charging service and access to computers and internet. Here, training courses give people the chance for advanced training in an otherwise often poorly developed area and possibilities for further education. This essentially increases their opportunities for entrepreneurship, employment and regular incomes.
Customers are charged a small fee for all services and the revenues of the project are being reinvested in the maintenance and the operation of the Hubs, the expansion of the project as well as further charitable projects.
Today, still 1.3 billon people worldwide are living without access to grid-based energy. Alone in Africa, about 70% of the total population is forced to rely on fossil lighting and energy sources such as kerosene lamps and diesel generators. The use of kerosene, however, is disadvantageous and inefficient in many ways. The most pressing problem for the local communities is that of high and volatile prices. Given that especially poor people have to rely on kerosene for lighting and are often forced to spend up to two-thirds of their income for its purchase, the need for affordable alternative energy services is urging. At the same time, burning fuels for illumination also results in major health, environmental and climate impairments caused by toxic fumes and leaking liquids as well as the increased risk of domestic fires.
Against this background, the project aims at transferring an already successfully implemented concept developed for an earlier project started by Osram and Global Nature Fund, where three WE!Hubs have been constructed around Lake Victoria. These Hubs are still operating and will be refurbished within the framework of this project.