Seven stories showcasing Israeli innovation across Africa
I hope to bring energy to every village.
Simple solar panels mean hospitals can heal and people can flourish. When you think about the scale of human suffering, you'd probably believe that it's impossible to change millions of lives. But apparently, it's not. "People are suffering and there's no reason for it. With a drilling machine and a few solar panels, we can change everything, we can change their destinies" says Sivan Ya'ari, Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, a non-profit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water tech to rural African villages
Big Problems; Simple Solutions. "Growing up, we didn't have clean water anywhere. All we had were open sources which were quite dirty, (so) we suffered from many diseases… like stomach aches and eye infections. I felt as if my childhood was spent in hospitals seeking treatment for things that were out of my control." says Hadidja Blama. The fact that Blama had access to a hospital in her small village in Cameroon, was a luxury. Ya'ari speaks of the moment she was inspired to start her company, which was while she was visiting a rural clinic and offered to help. A nurse replied "you can't help me, because I can't help them. We have no fridges for medication." It was clear that energy and water, two gifts of nature, were the causes of the problem - and the solutions.Growing up, we didn't have clean water anywhere
Digging (not so) Deep. Innovation: Africa have one goal – to provide water and electricity to 10 million people across 800 villages. While it sounds complex, it's actually simple. A drilling machine pumps the clean water that's below their feet and the Israeli solar panels they install, give schools, villages and clinics light and refrigeration. "It's incredible how much you can do with not much, how you can build an infrastructure that lasts… During the famine in Uganda… the elders had been put aside to die, the children who were still alive were eating leaves... It took us nothing, we found water 40m deep" adds Ya'ari.
Everything's Changing "Everything changes once you're liberated from searching for water and drinking dirty water" adds Ya'ari. "Children are going to school, they don't have to search for water… people are healthier… in every village that we have installed water, people have started businesses. They can grow food year round, they have better nutrition, they sell at the market and generate money… There is water and soil, so they make bricks - no more mud homes… They take care of their cows who produce more milk… Solar energy opens barber shops and more... Clinics can run and lives can be saved" Ya'ari goes on to explain that in collaboration with the Israeli government, locals are trained to build and manage the new tech – putting control in their hands.
A Better Tomorrow Abdoulaye Hourerata, from Garga Sarali, Cameroon says "Today, I use the clean water from the taps to cook for my family, we all drink it together, bath regularly, do laundry and other house chores. Together. As one family living in safe conditions, healthy and more importantly happy. Years ago, I would imagine what it would be like to carry water in front of my home without having to trek 2km to fetch (it). It's as if our dream came true… We see hope for a better tomorrow."
"Water is available, the technology exists… And it doesn't take much money" concludes Ya'ari. "Our generation can do it… My hope is that others see the benefit of helping others and using energy to make a change not just in Africa, but around the world"
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