By Andrew Nsoseka
The Centre for Community Regeneration and Development, CCREAD-Cameroon, has successfully electrified over 1,000 households in some hard-to-reach rain forest communities in Kupe Muanenguba Division, of Cameroon’s Southwest region.
In its drive to electrify forest communities, CCREAD-Cameroon has, so far, reached over 10 hard-to-reach forest communities since 2015. The NGO equipped each of the various communities with mini grid solar electrification station, alongside complete house wirings, street lighting, electrification of rural schools and community buildings.
The communities are been equipped with solar panel stations and associated equipment. The organisation is also training locals, giving them the expertise to operate the installed equipment. The solar energy generating clean and renewable energy for homes provides a range of environmental and social benefits to these communities, thus conserving the ecosystem by reducing the need to use diesel-powered generators to produce electricity which causes air pollution and health hazards.
The solar electrification project under the Rise4nature programme implemented by CCREAD-Cameroon has greatly been applauded by some beneficiaries which to them is timely as it will help boost their economic and agricultural activities. Most of the communities involved, have never had electricity in their communities before, thus leaving them to use alternative sources of energy like kerosene (bush) lamps which, in most cases, slow their activities during the evenings.
Environment experts have hailed CCREAD-Cameroon’s push for greater use of solar power in energy-starved rural communities that could also help cut down worrying deforestation in Cameroon.
The solar electrification project will go a long way to change the livelihoods of village communities which have for long been in the dark. It will also help in saving Cameroon’s disappearing forest – from the cutting of trees for wood and charcoal used for cooking and heating. The forest depleting activities are expected to reduce, with the installation of solar energy in the communities by CCREAD-Cameroon.
In more than 20 local communities across the Kupe Muanenguba Division alone, CCREAD-Cameroon has received support from Cool Earth organisation for complete solar electrification, establishing over 20 agroforestry nurseries for rainforest and farmland regeneration. The local leaders of communities, Chiefs, have attested that CCREAD-Cameroon and Cool Earth have been their main partners in their local development drive, since 2017. They say the efforts of the duo and their management has been able to mobilise and engage children, women, youths and even the aged to join forces in protecting their forests.
Dr Hilary Ewang Ngide, CCREAD Cameroon’s Director Organisation and the Manager of the project, said the project started in 2017 and, in partnership with Cool Earth, the second phase of the project will run until 2023 and more communities engaged after 2023.