The UNHSPS project is being completed in four phases. Phases one and two were completed during 2013-2014. The team travelled to help install the system and facilitate the training of local maintenance personnel in January 2016. Currently, UNHSPS is monitoring the use of the solar panel system, and continuing to work closely with the Toh-Kpalime community to ensure the system’s maintenance, protection, and fair use.
Throughout the 2013 – 2014 school year, 5 students in environmental engineering, civil engineering and political science conducted research related to this project as part of a UNH senior capstone project. During this academic year, the team developed a relationship with a nonprofit organization already active in the village of Toh – Kpalime, and identified the need for a photovoltaic system. Project members created the initial designs for the photovoltaic system and supporting structure, and investigated the comparative advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to small scale sustainable development projects in developing countries. The results of this research informed the team’s efforts throughout the project, and provided background information for academic actors interested in this type of project. During this time, the team also developed educational materials for local elementary and middle school students. Through assemblies at Mast Way Elementary and Oyster River school, project members engaged school children in a conversation about development, sustainable energy, and their peers in Ghana.
In August 2014, project members Katerina and Zachary traveled with our Canadian partner & community liaison Sharla Wallace to Ghana. The purpose of this visit was to develop a relationship with the community and decision-makers of Toh Kpalime, to work with the community to develop project goals and strategies, and to source materials for the PV system as locally as possible. Kat, Zach, and Sharla spent three weeks in-country, holding several community wide meetings in Toh Kpalime, and meeting with smaller groups of stakeholders and individuals in Toh Kpalime, surrounding villages, and the capitol city Accra. The assessment trip provided invaluable information, and strengthened the working relationship between our team and our Ghanaian partners.
The team travelled to Toh-Kpalime in January 2016, where the solar panel system was installed and 5 community members were trained in the system’s operation and maintenance. Check out the infographic below for more information about the trip!
Sustainability is one of the foundational principles of this project. We and our partners believe that the network supporting this project will be a key component in the sustainability of the system. We are working with our partners to create a system for monitoring, feedback, and support that will ensure that the PV system is maintained, protected, and accessible well into the future.