Over 2000 Garissa Pupils Benefit From Solar Devices.
At least 2000 children from 1700 households in Garissa County have benefited from the Mwangaza Mashinani Program, which aims to improve children’s and families’ well-being, particularly in terms of health and educational performance.
The UNICEF-funded program, which is being implemented by the Garissa County Government, has been providing vulnerable families with Sh4,000 twice a month to purchase solar-powered lighting devices.
County Secretary Abdi Sheikh said during a ceremony marking the end of phase II of the program that the program demonstrated the government’s commitment to ensuring vulnerable households not only get access to electricity but also adopt clean energy solutions.
“This project has shown us that improving affordability for solar lanterns and solar home systems impacts the recipients’ sense of ownership and quality of life for children and their families,” Sheikh said.
Energy CEC Habon Maalim stated that her department will continue to collaborate with development agencies and the private sector to increase the distribution of Solar Home Systems to selected school-age children living in off-grid areas.
“The provision of solar home systems will continue to encourage the pupils, especially girls, to stay in school and equally reduce school drop out for both boys and girls,” Maalim said.
“This will also inculcate a reading culture, improve education performance and increase transition rates to secondary school and other higher learning institutions,” she added.
Youth, Women, and Culture CEC Zeinab Digale praised the program’s impact, saying that, unlike the kerosene lamps used in most of these homes, the environmentally friendly solar powered devices had improved the health and economic well-being of the women, young children, and elderly recipients.
“We are witnessing fewer cases of respiratory diseases brought about by inhaling fumes from kerosene lamps and fewer cases of accidental fires from these kerosene lamps,” Digale said.
Susan Momanyi of UNICEF stated that the program, which is also being implemented in Kilifi County, has been transformative in raising the performance of students from beneficiary households, and she urged the respective county governments to adopt and scale up the program.
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