In a bid to tackle the high lack of access to electricity in Sierra Leone, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has implemented a project that is being funded by the government of Japan to help expand energy access to remote villages in Sierra Leone.
With approximately $3.6 million in funding from the Japanese government, UNOPS is set to carry out the project to provide clean and affordable electricity that will reduce energy costs and benefit over 15,000 people in rural areas.
As part of the project, UNOPS has constructed a grid distribution network for solar photovoltaic mini-grid systems in six underserved rural communities in the East and Southern region of Sierra Leone (Grima Tikonko, Lower Saama, Naiagolehun, Petewoma, Serabu, and Upper Saama).
With the grid distribution network, a private sector operator will construct mini-grid systems that will generate 330 kilowatts of solar-powered electricity. This will provide power to schools, pharmacies, households, businesses, and community health centers, with some of the health centers receiving 6.6-kilowatt hours per day of free electricity.
In a press statement, the ambassador of Japan to Sierra Leone and Ghana H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki expressed his certification towards the project. He said it is vital that through this project, school children, health workers, and other sectors will have the opportunity to access free and clean electricity, and this will help boost their daily activities and improve small-scale businesses in the beneficiary communities.
“I am pleased that, through this project, school children in the beneficiary communities will have reliable power to go about their educational activities, health workers will have stable electricity to offer their services, households will have a constant supply of electricity, and small and medium scale businesses activities will improve.” H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki.
Director and Representative of the UNOPS Multi-Country office in Ghana Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba also added that the electricity this project provides would improve the education sector in the rural areas and will help improve the general health services.
“The access to electricity this project provides will help improve maternal and general health services in these areas as well as improve learning outcomes for children.” Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba.
According to UNOPS, Only 26 percent of Sierra Leone’s population has access to electricity and that’s mostly in urban and peri-urban areas. This is among one of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world.