KHUZDAR: Millions of people in Balochistan, Pakistan rely on burning kerosene oil and candles to light up their homes, and wood or dung to cook and heat water. This is expensive, dangerous and polluting for the people and environment as well. The schools and basic health centers are deprived of electricity which is affecting the education and health services, and leaving negative impact on the children’s quality education and particularly, people’s health and living condition. Batteries are used to power radios and people travel miles to charge their mobiles.
Keeping in view the situation in Balochistan, Health And Rural Development (HARD) Balochistan all the time making efforts to respond the situation. In 2022, HARD Balochistan focusing most deserving and poor communities of 04 hard-to-reach villages from Tehsil Wadh District Khuzdar applied and won a project from EKOenergy Ecolebel – Finnish Association for Nature Conservation to provide top roof / home based solar energy systems as an alternative to the costly and harmful electricity being generated using the wood, dung and imported fuel.
With funding of EKOenergy Ecolebel – Fininish Association for Nature Conservation, HARD Balochistan started to execute the project from 1 st July 2022. All the stakeholders, solar technicians and EKOenergy Climate Management Committees and other relevant authorities were on boarded, briefed and engaged through out the project implementation.
The project 100% covered targeted 04 hard-to-reach villages where 100 households were electrified through provision complete top roof / home based solar energy systems. The religious places/Mosques were electrified by connecting nearer households. In these targeted villages, 04 schools and 04 Basic Health Units/Centers were also electrified and equipped with complete solar energy systems. The solar energy technicians were engaged from procurement to installations of systems and orientation of respective household’s heads about its operation and maintenance as well as trained an strong cohort of 20 youth from targeted villages in one month course on installation, repair and maintenance of solar energy system under the HARD Technical Training Centre. The village level EKOenergy Climate Management Committees established and engaged in raising awareness about climate change and benefits of solar energy and ensuring the sustainability of the project through raising funds at community level.
The project first time enabled these poor and indigenous people access to electricity mand approximately, benefiting 2000 people in targeted and surrounding villages. It providing security to the communities from various hazards at night and a healthy and fresh environment and made their lives easy particularly, reduced the troubles and hardships for women. It empowered the women to do embroidery and tailoring after the dusk till midnight to earn money for fulfilling their financial needs and send their kids to school. It provided a safe and healthy environment to the children at school and
more study time at home to reach their academic potential and even inspired other out of school children to attend the school. It also functioned the Basic Health Units/Centers mainly at night time to carry out emergency services and now, the no of patients especially carbon heart-patents reduced and the general health of people mostly children and women is improving.
Overall, solar energy did not reduce the import bill of costly fuel but generated low-cost and environment-friendly electricity which sustained and helped to improve the socio- economic well-being and the quality of life of the local communities. The initiative and genericity of EKOenergy Ecolebel- Finnish Association for Nature Conservation has been highly appreciated by the stakeholders and beneficiaries and requests for such programs are pouring in from other areas.
Published in The Balochistan Point on December 1, 2022