Changing Lives In Benin With Solar Panels

Light Relief In Benin: In rural Benin, a lack of reliable electricity is preventing development and compromising the safety of isolated villagers. One NGO hopes that by harnessing solar power, it can put remote villages back on the grid.

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“It’s very difficult, because most give birth in the night and because we live without electricity”, says a midwife from Azokangoudou, a remote village in Benin. With no electricity or clean water, half of newborns die in their first year. Education is also hindered by the country’s lack of electricity. Children cannot study at home in the dark, which seriously affects their progress. Samson, a teacher at Azokangoudo, believes that “there are many children leaving the village because they don’t have the support needed”. Action Benin et Solidarite are a small NGO working to get villages like Azokangodou on the grid. A year ago they built a solar power station in the tiny village of Kopkissa. Jeremie, who runs the power station, says it has transformed the local economy. “A number of shops have opened up since the arrival of electricity. Bars, fishmongers, hairdressers…There are loads”.

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