Photos: Engagements in Kono and Kenema districts
As part of it programme support to Government of Sierra Leone to accelerate access to clean energy, GIZ-Energizing Development’s (EnDev) alongside other institutions including the private sector, have concluded engagements with stakeholders in Kono and Kenema on the establishing strategy for Solar Maintenance Association in Sierra Leone.
At the Kono District Council Hall in Koidu city on 23rd August 2022 a total of 45 participants were engaged and a staff of EnDev, Daniel Koroma gave status update on their operations.
He said EnDev is not only operating in Sierra Leone but also in more than twenty countries around the world, Latin America, Asia and Africa and Sierra Leone is fortunate to be one. According to him, EnDev is supporting the solar installation and maintenance strategy with funding from GIZ and other donors. He added by saying that EnDev is not only into solar installation and maintenance but have different components of interventions including clean cooking, deforestation, E-Learning, and gender empowerment.
Mr. Koroma gave evidence of gender empowerment that they have previously paid fees for fifty girls/women at the Government Technical Institute in Freetown for solar installation courses. He said all these are in partnership with the government of Sierra Leone. He concluded that the implementing partner for the solar installation and maintenance project is Renewable Energy Association (REASL).
Golder Williams, a staff of REASL Sierra Leone, introduced REASL in the meeting and explained the function of REASL. She said REASL in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone has agreed that all institutions/organizations and individuals engaging as installation technicians must register with REASL, this she went on will identify the responsible institution/individuals for an installation.
Madam Williams concluded that this will help them as they want to get adequate information on all installations which will be put into a database.
Presentation on solar installation and maintenance was done by Mr. David Kpakiwa, GIZ Energising Development Team Lead, Repairs and Maintenance Coordinator. He said the Solar Installation and Maintenance Association Project is being funded by GIZ through EnDev and the implementing organization will be REASL as partner organisation to EnDev.
He said the aim of the Project is to enhance sustainability in the energy supply especially from solar installation, adding that plenty of the installations done in the country’s health facilities, schools, public places are not functioning as a result of no maintenance structure.
Mr. Kpakiwa went on to say the Project will address the challenges by setting up structures, training of technicians so they can exhibit their function to enhance sustainable energy supply. He pictured health centres with more than one installations done by different organizations in one facility which could have been installed into another centre to maximize access to lighting. He mentioned that this could be minimized with the establishment of the SIM project which will reduce the dysfunctional systems in one facility.
He said the Project will address the issue of installation duplications in one centre by different organizations/individuals while presenting the challenges responsible for non-maintenance/non- functioning installations.
David Kpakiwa encouraged the Kono District Council and the Koidu New Sembehun City Council to host REASL so that technicians will come and register with them for an affordable cost. The cost he said is to make the technicians to take their work more serious.
He added that REASL is a Sierra Leone base organisation that is responsible for the establishment of National Maintenance Association Sierra Leone (NMASL) with the support of GIZ/EnDev.
Mr. Kpakiwa concluded by admonishing the law enforcement agencies (SLP, ONS and traditional stakeholders that, in order to prevent the installations from being stolen or misused, they need to participate in the ownership of the systems being installed., He went on by saying that the SIM Strategy plan is to be piloted within two districts, Kono and Kenema for now. The lesson learned will be used to roll up the project in other districts in Sierra Leone. . The Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, P.C Tamba Emmanuel Foyoh applauded GIZ/ EnDev and REASL for the opportunity brought to the people of Kono district.
He assured GIZ/EnDev and REASL for their full support as paramount chiefs in Kono district to the success of this project, while admonishing all stakeholder participants to take the project more seriously as it will serves as a component in the face lifting agenda of Kono district.
The engagement was replicated in Kenema where the Chairman of the Kenema District Council, Amadu Sesay appreciated the move by GIZ/EnDev, describing it as a laudable venture.
He said that, electrifying the country is one of President Julius Maada Bio’s priorities in his development drive.
Also, the Chief Administrator of the Kenema District Council, Joseph Gandor spoke about the missing link which he said hinders sustainability, while assuring Council’s commitment.