Reflections from Maasailand Part II

Campsite_View-150x150I must say that the camping arrangement was much more comfortable than I expected (even with the no-hot-water camp showers). Each morning saw a blazing sunrise climb into our valley location and then ended with a similar evening sunset.

The last two days of camping had us ranging further away into the Southern Rift Valley. We visited the community Entasopia_Solar_MicroGrid-e1423940813486-150x150at Entasopia where MANDO had supported the implementation of a solar mini-grid within the community. We stopped at the local medical clinic (called a “dispensary” though it had all the facilities for outpatient and basic surgical care). This clinic had sufficient solar to light the lights but not to run the equipment. Additionally, it was too far away and required too much power to receive the benefits of the solar mini-grid. The Deeper Missions team discussed options including the clinic’s own solar mini-grid.

We also visited a rural girls’ school originally built by Compassion International before being handed over to the local government. The assistant director showed us around the grounds and we were able to greet students and staff and get many of our questions answered Girls_School-150x150regarding the sufficiency of the school’s access to energy, water and sanitation.

Our visits to possible project sites in Maasailand concluded with a visit to the planned location for a safe house for girls under risk of early marriage and FGM and to a community needing a borehead well. The second stop, the busy Eremit_BusinessWoman-150x150Enkoireroi Market Center enjoys the benefit of a solar mini-grid installation but lacks water security. Deeper Missions has already teamed with MANDO to submit a small grant proposal to a Washington, DC area Rotary Club in order to top-off the funding already secured for this very needy project.

With confidence that there will soon be a reliable water supply the community has already embarked on building a medical clinic between the bustling business area and the local school.

Because the Maasai culture values and respects its visitors, the local family clans pulled out the stops, slaughteringMaasai_Warriors-150x150 and roasting a goat in our honor and provided an evening of Maasai warrior experiences with young men demonstrating singing, dancing and jumping all against the backdrop of a blazing fire and bright starlit night. It was a wonderful capstone event that made our brief time among the Maasai people a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

From here we began our trek north and west to visit other NGOs on the shores of Lake Victoria and into Uganda.

Upcoming Event: Panel Discussion on the Power Africa Initiative

PowerAfrica-300x225The Africa-America Institute will host a panel discussion on the Power Africa Initiative on January 30, 2014, at the TKP New York Conference Center. The Power Africa Initiative was launched in June 2013 and aims to increase electricity access in Africa by at least 20 million new households. Through the initiative, $7 billion will be directed towards efforts to reduce energy poverty in six African countries over the next five years. The countries targeted by the initiative include Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Panelists for the event will include Agnes Dasewicz, Director, Private Capital Group for Africa, USAID; Shari Berenbach, President & CEO, The U.S. African Development Foundation; Tony von der Muhll, Global Strategic Relations, Shift Into Green Energy ECUA; Ambassador Tuvako Manongi, Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations; and George Monyemangene, Consul General of South Africa. The event will be moderated by Kamran Khan, Vice President of the Department of Compact Operations, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Last year, Deeper Missions’ team of volunteers helped install solar equipment and infrastructure to off-grid, rural communities in Bo, Sierra Leone. The surplus of electricity generated by these solar panels is being used for income generation and small businesses including a cell phone charging station. At the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf, the newly installed solar infrastructure is also doubling as a living laboratory for older students to learn about circuits, electrical engineering, and sustainable business practices. Because of the success of these projects, Deeper Missions has been approached by a number of partner organizations to begin exploring the possibility of supporting solar power projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, and Ghana; four out of the five countries targeted by the Power Africa Initiative.

For more information on the event, visit the Africa-America Institute’s website here. To find out more information on how you can join our 2014 team of volunteers, visit our volunteer section here.


Save the Date

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Woman Collecting Water in Achefar, Ethiopia, (Flickr: waterdotorg)

Save the date for the upcoming event on “Modern Africa – A Symposium on Opportunities for Women in Energy and Water Access” hosted by the Africa Program and Energy & National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in collaboration with the Brookings Institution, the Center for Sustainable Development in Africa, and the United Nations Foundation.

The event will take place on February 13, 2014 (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.), and will be held at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Visit the Center for Sustainable Development in Africa for more information. Registration details for the event will be shared in January 2014. The event will broadcast live on the web for those who cannot attend in person.

The event announcement can be downloaded here: Modern Africa Symposium (PDF).

Renewables Power Up Around the World


On Tuesday, December 5, 2013, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) hosted an event on the World Energy Outlook 2013. Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, spoke on developments in renewable energy, trends in the use of fossil fuels, energy consumption patterns, and projections through 2035. Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Guy Caruso, Senior Advisor in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, also participated in the event.

Mr. Birol began his presentation by commenting on a renewed focus on global energy efficiency. He highlighted the recent IEA Member Countries’ Statement on Climate Change (PDF) initiated by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Statement recognizes the importance of affordable and low-carbon technologies for sustainable energy and climate change mitigation. The Statement also reaffirms the commitment of energy ministers and the IEA to encourage the adoption of policy measures including “rationalizing and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption while providing targeted support for the poorest.”

Despite a general renewed focus on global energy efficiency, Mr. Birol stressed that more emphasis needs to be made on renewable energy, particularly hydroelectric solar and power. He noted that since last year, CO2 emissions increased by 1.4%. Two-thirds of emissions leading to climate change come from the energy sector. “If you want to change CO2 emissions, the energy sector needs to be at the heart of this change,” stated Birol.

In addition to climate change mitigation, Mr. Birol commented on the lack of accessibility and reliability of electricity in rural communities. “Approximately 1.3 billion people – that’s every fifth person on earth – do not have access to electricity. This is a moral issue and in many cases, it is becoming worse,” stated Birol. He continued by highlighting the increasingly important role that renewable energy sources are playing in “powering up the world”.

Video and audio of the CSIS World Energy Outlook 2013 can be found at: