Off Grid Solar Facilities: A Life Line For Kenyan Communities

Changing heat temperatures from climate change is a worldwide problem effecting all nations, and Kenya is not exempt from this. Temperatures in Kenya have been rising, which is causing the fishing communities and wider general public to struggle. For example, the fishing communities do not have access to suitable cooling facilities to keep the fish cool and fresh once caught. However, thanks to a Danish firm, MYPAG, who are providing access to off grid cooling facilities and therefore proving a solution to this problem.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that around 150,000 Kenyans make a living from fishing in the Indian Ocean which borders the east coast of the nation. All in all, these fisherman harvest about 187,000 tons of fresh seafood. However, it is estimated that around one third of the country’s harvested fresh seafood ends up being lost before it can be sold due to the fact it ends up going off and therefore no longer being consumable. This is due to the lack of cooling facilities that the fishermen have access to. If freshly caught fish is kept at 0°C it is preserved for 10 days, but if a freshly caught fish is left at 30°C it can only be preserved for a few hours. Therefore, MYPAG and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) have stepped in to provide the Kenyan fishing communities with affordable off grid solar-powered cooling appliances.

The partnership from these two firms is a saviour for the Kenyan fishing communities. It has reduced market barriers meaning the smaller and not so well-off communities now have access to cooling facilities which they would otherwise not be able to afford. These communities also tend to be in the more remote and rural areas which are not currently connected to the national grid, so having an off-grid solution to this problem was essential in helping these communities. In this moment in time, only around 30% of the Kenyan population has secure access to electricity through the national grid. This statistic is one that needs improving to help improve equality throughout Kenya.

It is not just Kenya that faces this issue, it also occurs throughout most of Africa where temperatures are rising.

The off-grid cooling facilities also have other uses. The facilities can be used to keep vaccines cool and therefore useable for a longer period of time. This means that infants have access to safe vaccines in rural clinics, which would not otherwise be possible, which stops the spreading of deadly diseases. Also, as temperatures continue to rise and the risk of life-threatening heat waves across the continent increase, the off-grid cooling technologies can be used to keep the population cool. This is especially important for the young and old population as they are most at risk of dying if a heat wave were to strike.

The sustainable cooling will therefore allow communities to escape poverty and improve their quality of lives. The cooling facilities also ensures that the workers can be more productive, and that food can be stored securely and kept fresh.

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