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July 28, 2015 AT 5:00 pm

Masai Women Transport Solar Power With Donkeys #SolarPower

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Groups of women in Kenya bring power and light from village to village with solar power panels carried by their donkeys. via take part

Just two years ago, the villagers of Magadi, Kenya, had to light fires at night or burn expensive kerosene so their children could read and do their schoolwork—that is, when they weren’t tasked with guarding the village livestock from leopards and hyenas making their stealthy attacks in the dark. Energy poverty is a major problem in this region; Magadi is so far off the country’s power grid that people have to walk almost 10 miles to charge their phones at a station that’s open only one day a week.

But these days, groups of Masai women are leading a renewable energy revolution. Hauling solar devices on donkeys from village to village, they’re transforming the lives of locals with light and power, thanks to a program launched by renewable energy developer Green Energy Africa. The women are provided with energy-efficient lights, solar panels, and rechargeable batteries at a discount, which they in turn sell for a profit. They are also trained to help install the panels and lights at individual homes. To date, 200 women are participating across five village groups; together, they’ve installed solar-powered units in more than 2,000 homes.

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