The idea to create a network on solar energy was born during a conference in Sousse, Tunisia in November 2010. The African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE) was officially launched in Linz, Austria in February 2011, thus it will celebrate its 5th anniversary next year in February. A conference commemorating this event is planned from the 3rd to the 6th of February 2016 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The creation of ANSOLE was inspired by the absence of any networks or other mechanisms to facilitate concerted dialogue and learning exchange among African scientists and the lack of opportunities for students in the area of Renewable Energies (RE) research.
The main focus of ANSOLE is human capacity building in RE in Africa and the promotion of the use of RE to address both climate change issues and acute lack of energy hampering the socio-economic development of the continent. This is clearly stated in its three main goals:
- Foster technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in RE at various skill levels (capacity building),
- Foster research activities in renewable energy among African scientists and non-African scientists who are directly involved in the education of African students and experts (capacity building)
- Promote and encourage the use of RE in Africa (substainable development and economy, environmental protection, etc.).
After many Science workshops in Africa and South America, which we have given as Senior Science Advisors for students and teachers, we realized that teaching of science should not end at the school gate, but be put into practice in the lives of the students.
Students study at their school for example the application of electric current in simple circuits to produce light or to drive an electric motor. At home, however, many of the students have no access to electricity to generate light in the dark for learning. In order to see something, many families use kerosene lanterns that produce poisonous gases and pose a major fire hazard. As the houses are close to each other and constructed of wood and flammable materials, the outbreak of a fire has disastrous consequences. The hospitals in such settlements report of severe burns especially in infants.
Therefore we have equipped some schools in Namibia, Guatemala, Kenya, Chile and Peru with a 10 Watt Solar Light System, consisting of a solar charging station and mobile LED lanterns. After school lessons – about basic knowledge of electricity – the students learn how to use solar cells, rechargeable batteries and LEDs to build their own light for reading.
Students from Villarrica, Chile. Credit: Dieter Arnold.
Students in 58 rural schools in Senegal were recently introduced to a brighter kind of library — a library of solar lights – thanks to an innovative Light Library campaign for schools located in off-grid communities from SolarAid, a London-based international charity that provides renewable energy solutions for poverty and addressing climate change.
Designed and delivered by SunnyMoney, a social enterprise from SolarAid, in partnership with the Senegalese Rural Electrification Agency (ASER), the Light Library Project allows students to borrow solar lanterns from a library of solar lights.
Student at Kabe Mbengue school, Kaffrine, Senegal, using a solar lantern. Credits: Kat Harrison/SolarAid.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has proclaimed 2015 as both the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) and the International Year of Soils (IYS). The UN has also recognized December 5th, 2014 as World Soil Day.
In celebration of these important events, the Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Laboratory of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, would like to tell you about how the simplicity of light is being used to revolutionise the measurement of soil health.
Technician scanning a soil sample with an infrared spectrometer. Credits: World Agroforestry Center