“We started by replacing Gwakwani’s diesel borehole pump with a solar borehole pump, and built a network of taps and tanks,” says Cornay Keefer, the School of Electrical Engineering’s project manager. “This was followed by the installation of solar lights in the villagers’ homes, as well as solar streetlights.”
After lighting came economic empowerment. Gwakwani’s remoteness makes earning an income difficult and unemployment is high. The electrical engineering team got to work creating a solar bakery, where bread and other baked goods are now made and sold. Large cold storage units have also been installed, and a solar-powered crèche has been built for the village’s youngest residents.