REES Africa Organizes “Lightup Sabokoji” Project in Accordance With SDG 7, 11 and 13.
By Alokwem Vianney
REES Africa’s mission is to build sustainable cities by enabling renewable energy access and promoting environmental sustainability. On the14th April 2019, we concluded another of such intervention project through the second 3-day REES-Lights Africa initiative -majorly an SDG 7 stride to end energy poverty in rural communities through clean and efficient means. REES Africa remains the only NGO that has conceptualized, initiated and completed such project in Nigeria successfully — the only to have done it twice as well. And it’s something we are proud of and will continue to work towards initiating and completing more of, in the times to come.
For this project, REES took all the time there is and went the extra mile to find 65 families amongst the poorest of the poor in Sabokoji Island to provide with clean energy. Sabokoji is an island of five major communities of over 10, 000 households which since the establishment of the first settlers, is yet to get access to a suitable source of electric power, as a result, those who could afford it have resorted to the use of petrol generators, which mostly does more to add to various environmental problems that the island is already experiencing.
As indicated in REES (Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability), we saw environmental sustainability and renewable energy problem, assessed it and proceeded to tackle it practically. It wasn’t just about providing energy, but also about providing clean, renewable energy. To achieve this, the organization made numerous efforts as a unit to acquire and install solar home systems (with radio, mp3 player, phone charging port and outlets for three energy-saving bulbs) in homes where the occupants have in one way or the other become direct victims of drastic energy poverty.
Homes where young children are exposed to toxic fumes of uncovered local kerosene lamps. Homes which, due to the use of open sources of fires within rooms as a source of lighting has gotten burnt or caused physical harms to the occupants. Homes were the children can’t read or do their homework at night because there’s no light to use — consequently affecting the development of properly enlightened human capital in the community. It wasn’t just about such homes, but also about their neighbours whom we made sure that every installation, the neighbours also become the beneficiaries. As well as for the fishermen who needed lights to point them home after a long and unusually dark night. We set out to light up 57 homes in five communities on the island, but through a tactical approach during the installations, was able to light up more than 65 homes alongside that of the community chiefs’ palace to ensure steady power during community meetings and dispute resolution. At the end of the day, it was an all-encompassing project towards making life more bearable and better in various aspects for the members of the community.
REES volunteers came from around the country to join efforts in various capacities (via community research, conflict resolutions, welfare and installations) to ensure the smooth success of the project. The project wouldn’t have been as much success as it was, without their efforts. Neither would it have been as much success without the financial CSR obligation made by the construction firm TalentCity, WattCore and various individual donations from members of the organization and other concerned citizens. Strategic sponsorship was also offered by the Lagos State Government, Amuwo-odofin LGA, First City Monument Bank, the Ministry of Environment, the British High Commission and various stakeholders in the community.
We appreciate the collective efforts of all those involved in the project through various means, as well as the people of the community for giving us an opportunity to take a step towards bringing an end to energy poverty.