Solar powered health clinic for a community in Monkey Point, Nicaragua.
In Latin America and the Caribbean more than a hundred million people have insufficient access to electricity, and, as with much of the developing world, the great majority are located in rural settings where connection to the grid is prohibitively expensive for both national governments and private energy companies.
Nicaragua stands out as having some of the lowest electricity coverage in Central America; 55% nationally and 40% in rural areas, according to UN statistics (CEPAL, 2007), compared to the regional average of 94.6%. Nicaragua also has a higher dependence on oil for electricity generation; at 75% compared to the 43% regional average. It is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, which makes the need for this basic resource all the more urgent.
Those Nicaraguans living without access to electricity use ‘Candiles’ (kerosene filled lamps) for lighting, which can cause dangerous respiratory infections. The lack of electricity also limits communications with the rest of Nicaragua, restricting access to markets and creating a barrier to economic development. It decreases the number of hours per day available for productive activities or education.
Renewable World worked with partner blueEnergy in Nicaragua to provide a solar fridge/freezer and solar power for the health clinic at Monkey Point, an extremely remote community off the Caribbean coast. The fridge freezer has enabled the community nurse to keep vaccines for children, HIV tests and snakebite serum, and the energy also powers the clinic’s lighting and a nebuliser used to treat asthma and other respiratory diseases. Previously members of the community would have had to take the 3 hour boat ride to the nearest town (10 hours walk if the sea was too rough) .