Using solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa: If only progress moved faster

Solar-powered water heaters sit on rooftops at the Mercy Sisters' convent in northern Zambia. (Courtesy of the Sisters of Mercy)

After a recent personal experience in Tanzania and Malawi of electrical blackouts, cold showers, limited or no internet, cooking with charcoal, and the sight of mountains stripped of trees, I was reminded of a project I started in November 2016 to research how sisters in sub-Saharan Africa use solar energy.

I was motivated to continue it when sisters at the Association of Consecrated Women of East and Central Africa, or ACWECA, gathering in late August in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, questioned me about what I had found.

My original inspiration for this blog was the United Nations sustainable development goal No. 7, which is to promote alternative energy sources by 2030. I began to wonder about sisters' use of renewables. I had come across some examples during my time as director of the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters, but did not collect any data. (The Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters was established by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which funds Global Sisters Report.)

Being most familiar with Zambia, I decided to ask the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods to distribute a questionnaire to the membership on their use of solar power.

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

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