Volunteer Partnership for West Africa (VWPA) is constructing an ICT training Centre in Ghana that will train young people from all over the country how to build small scale solar devices, such as solar powered radios and lanterns. These can be installed in community centres, medical clinics, schools and similar communal buildings. The centre will equip young people with the skills to make a career in Solar Technology in their communities.
The strategy will be as follows;
1. Focus on the rural Eastern Region of Ghana where need of employment is greatest.
2. Focus mostly on training young people who reside in the most impoverished rural areas with little access to energy supply.
3. Focus on sustainability by encouraging trained beneficiaries to develop their own solar or solar-powered businesses. To do this the centre will also support the beneficiaries with essential business skills training.
4. Constantly monitor and evaluate the success of the project.
In this project VPWA will partner solar companies and organisations to help provide resources and training materials. The centre hopes to train 180 youth within the first year.
The story so far
A area of land (100x120 foot) has been acquired for the facility construction which is expected to cost $150,000. Funds for the centre's construction are being raised and we are looking for support from individuals and group donors.
Why is this project important?
Sub-Saharan Africa, and especially Ghana, is burdened by extreme poverty and faces significant challenges as it strives to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Out of a population of 22 million in Ghana, 44.8% are living off less than one dollar a day, whilst 78.5% are living off less than 2 dollars a day.
Over 40% of Ghanaians have no access to electricity and therefore rely on burning fuels such as kerosene and wood for light and heat. This is highly toxic as well as expensive. Generating solar power will improve people's health and save them money as they can run their homes, schools and communal buildings more effectively.
This project was conceived by VPWA to introduce more renewable energy sources to rural Ghana and to reduce green house emissions. At the same time it will train and seek to provide employment for young people in rural areas, who may otherwise be forced to migrate to the cities to seek work.
We would love to see this programme extending across West Africa.