Innovation: Africa, a non-profit humanitarian organisation that has to date brought electricity and water to over 590 rural villages across ten countries of operation in Africa (Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Senegal and eSwatini) is hoping that more countries update their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement in the wake of the COP26 international climate meeting currently taking place in Glasgow.
The UN’s recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report revealed that climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying. Although a key finding in the report highlights that global temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming over the next two decades, it isn’t only temperature increases that should be cause for alarm but also the impact of unstable wetness and dryness cycles critical for health and agriculture.
Unicef predicts that by 2040 if drastic measures aren’t taken, almost 1 in 4 children will live in areas of extremely high water stress. As the numbers currently stand, a staggering 784 million people live without basic access to clean water, roughly 1 in 10 people on earth, and Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing the slowest rate of progress toward water security in the world.
Solar-powered water pumping systems offer a cost-effective and sustainable way for communities to access safe and clean water which can exponentially limit the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. With access to clean water, communities are healthier and women and children are freed of the burden of collecting water and have the opportunity to attend school and/or establish income-generating businesses such as farming, brickmaking and much more.
COP26 is an annual summit of the 196 countries that are part of the United Nations climate treaty trying to avoid climate catastrophe. With only 110 countries committed to updating their NDCs, it is critical that global efforts are ramped up to address the growing socioeconomic risks. “Access to power and clean water must be placed at the centre of Africa’s climate policies. At Innovation: Africa, we have seen first-hand the impact that solar water pumping systems can have in allowing communities to thrive and lead healthier and more secure lives”, says Sivan Ya’ari, Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa.
Innovation: Africa has drawn back the curtain and showcased that renewable energy technology is not only accessible and can be utilised even in a remote village, but also extremely cost-effective to implement. Maintenance can be managed by locally skilled engineers and community members are given the opportunity to play an active role in creating their own economic independence.