With support from Power Africa, as a result of assistance provided to host country governments and the private sector, energy customers in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria gained access to new or improved electricity. Julia’s story highlights one of the experiences households have had as a result of gaining access to that electricity.
My name is Julia, and I live in Kaptyuiyot near Eldoret, Kenya. I had hoped that my children would finish school and assist in getting us access to electricity, but by the grace of God the government came to our aid.
Before getting electricity, we used to rely on kerosene lamps. Now, our standard of living has improved, and we have replaced the kerosene lamps with solar lanterns. The children’s rooms can stay well-lit for hours, even continuously, and the security lights can stay on until morning. Before, you had to wake up and light the kerosene lamp before you could move outside. Because of this, security has improved, and we can defend the cows and chicken from animals using the light.
“The electricity performs a number of functions such as security and lighting up everywhere. Like, now the children’s rooms can stay well-lit for hours, or even continuously. The security lights can stay on until morning… the security has improved.”
The children are also studying more, and I’ve noted that their grades have improved. Before, when we were using kerosene, it was expensive so I had to limit the amount of studying my children could do. Now, with the light, my daughter, in class six, recently scored 380 marks compared to 360 previously. When I asked her how she did it, she simply said she wakes up to study at night. I also have a son who comes to study for about an hour and is in a day school as well. Education is the most important change, because it means that I will not have problems. When the children study well, they will get good jobs and be able to support me in the future with a good education. I also want them to live well on their own in the future, as I may not be able to support them. I do not want them to live a life of poverty.
There have also been important changes to the community. Before, the community used to rely on a seasonal river and wells along the river. Sometimes in one day we would go 10 times to fetch water for the home and for the cows, which was time consuming and tiresome. This would take 15 minutes to and from each trip. There are still people that go there to fetch water today, but many can access water through boreholes. We can also fetch water at night with the light. In the community, you will find that some people pump water, using electricity, and assist others that do not have reliable water sources. This also saves people time from having to fetch water. The water from boreholes is also cleaner than the river, because it does not bring dirt, which can help improve health in the community.