An initiative aimed at expanding access of local communities to modern energy services (such as solar energy) under the Sustainable Energy for All (Se4All) programme being promoted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) has been transforming the livelihood and lifestyle of rural communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Hong Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa State, Northeast Nigeria.
After experiencing deadly attacks last year by rampaging Boko Haram militants that resulted in considerable human and material casualty, returnee residents of the communities are now picking up the pieces of their lives. Solar-powered fridge-freezers in health centres, solar water boreholes fitted with 10,000-litre capacity overhead tanks, as well as solar home and outdoor lighting systems provided under the Se4All are re-awakening hitherto depressed health sector, educational standard, social interaction and business ventures in no fewer than 12 benefitting communities in Hong.
The Garaha Mojili community in Hong LGA is a case in study.
Aminichi Edwards, a Junior Community Health Extension Worker (JCHEW) at the Garaha Primary Healthcare Centre in Garaha Mojili, Hong LGA, stands beside one of the two fridge-freezers provided the clinic. She says that, compared to before when the hospital had no such equipment, drugs and vaccines such as the Hepatitis B Vaccine can now be stocked and thus readily available for administration to newly born babies
A patient at the clinic
A dwelling unit in the community destroyed by Boko Haram militants
Monday Benson, a trader and beneficiary of the solar lamp: “Before now, I spent about N200 every day to fuel the generator. I am now able to save more money as I no longer buy fuel for the generator. In fact, every month, I save about N5,000 in my account, something I was not able to do before. This is very good for me because I plan to get married very soon.”
Mrs Alpha Williams, farmer and business woman: “I now save a lot of money from constant purchase of batteries to power torchlight and kerosene for lanterns. Also, at night, my children read and do their homework with the solar lamp, which I at the same time use to charge my phone. Everything is so convenient and life is now so much easier for us. We also don’t need to go far to fetch water. As you can see, the water station is just by my doorstep. We say thank you to the UNDP and ECN for this kind and timely gesture.”
Members of the community say that the initiative has helped to improve their lot, even as they attempt to recover from the insurgency attacks