UNDP and Botswana Promote Solar Energy
13 July 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Botswana, through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is introducing alternative fuels and solar power to reduce carbon emissions to bring sustainable solutions to environmental and health problems, in addition to saving time for women and girls by reducing the time needed to collect wood.
Over the past six months, the initiative has been rolling-out solar home systems, rechargeable lanterns, community solar recharge stations and wood-saving cooking appliances in rural communities in Botswana. It is estimated that 80% of Botswana's rural population depends on firewood to illuminate and heat their homes. The programme has tasked the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the country's national electricity utility, to provide solar energy services to rural citizens. Villages are also running energy kiosks as part of a pilot franchise owned by BPC, to sell solar laterns, wood-saving stoves and hot bags, which are designed to keep food warm and reduce cooking time on stoves. The programme is prioritizing the poor and female-headed households by offering a subsidized price that meets their needs. [UNDP Press Release]