Cameroon, (aka Africa in miniature) continues to face challenges with access to reliable electricity supply particularly in the rural areas where more than 70% of the country’s population lives and where more than 80% of rural communities in don’t have electricity.Adere is a rural village located in Donga-Mantung Division of the North West Region of Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria. The 5,000 people of Adere rely on fossil fuel generators, kerosene lamps, and dry cell battery to meet these basic energy needs. The use of these sources of energy has negative socio-economic and environmental impacts.
Most children don’t go to school beyond elementary school and the few who go don’t get quality education because of the low quality of teachers and in some cases the total lack of teachers and other educational equipment and infrastructure.
Improving the lives of the poor youth of Adere requires significant improvements in the quality of education available to them. Unfortunately, these young people cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for education of such quality. In order to help these poorest of the poor, we have decided to establish work-study Farm-School. The Farm-School is a farm with a school in it. The goal of the farm is generate enough revenues of cover the operating costs of the school so that the young people can work part-time in the farm and study tuition-free in the school.The situation is rendered even more challenging by the fact this village are located very far from the national electricity grid. These are no plans by government to extend the national electricity grid to this village. In this village of about 5000 people and businesses currently use diesel generators, kerosene lamps, candle and dry cell battery to meet their needs for lighting, charging cell phones and for entertainment. Since our Farm-School will need electricity we can get only two ways: either solar energy or diesel generators. If we were to use diesel generators, it is estimated that total generator capacity for our Farm-School and the rest of Adere community will exceed 115KVA generating about 300MWh/year. This translates to about 100,000 liters/year of fossil fuel consumed, at an estimated cost of US $200,000 and emitting over 250 tons of CO2 annually. This would be a lot of air pollution and it is bad for the environment.
The project can be phased out or completed in one shot, depending on the availability of finances. Our Farm-School with its food processing industries will host volunteers from abroad with various technical expertisesWe want to bring affordable and sustainable electricity to our Farm-School and to the Adere community via Solar-diesel mini-grid. This project expects to provide a high quality service of electricity 24/7 through a 50kWp Solar-diesel hybrid mini-grid with a 240KWh (144KWH usable) battery storage bank and a 38KVA generator as backup and over 200 connections on a 3,000 meter (1.5KM transmission & 1.5KM distribution) mini-grid network. The electricity supplied will have the equivalent quality to the main grid, in terms of product (230V AC, 50 Hz, <3% THD) and in terms of service (time to respond to a new connection application, unplanned black outs, customer support). We will establish a strong management mechanism that guarantees long-term financial sustainability and potential growth.We intend to be hub for distributed learning to the poorly equipped schools in the area. They will benefit from the content we produce and their teachers will benefit from the training we provide.Our financially self-sustainable work-study Farm-School will be duplicated across rural Africa where millions of poor children need education but can’t afford to pay for it out-of-pocket. Other villages in the area and in need of such a work-study farm-school with its associated solar-powered food-processing industries are Bua-Bua, Ottengue, Mbissa, & Konene.
The project’s total capital investment is estimated at US $390,000 and we are partnering with IEEE Smart Village in the execution of this project.