By ERIC PIET
KOKODA Track Foundation says it will continue to provide alternative and renewable power for communities in Papua New Guinea, with 90 per cent of the population not having access to electricity.
Operations and programme manager Anthony Nagul said this yesterday at the petroleum and energy summit.
Nagul said according to United Nations, 6.3 million people were off the electricity grid in Papua New Guinea.
He said their work in providing solar energy for rural communities would go a long way in addressing energy needs of Papua New Guineans. Nagul said solar energy was relatively cheap and could be rapidly implemented in the rugged terrain of PNG.
He said KTF aimed to reach as many people as it could by 2020.
“We will try to reach as many rural communities in all parts of Papua New Guinea by 2020 through our three solar electrification programmes,” Nagul said.
“Solar power has very minimal environmental footprints and can be easily implemented in rural and very challenging terrain, where normal power can’t be taken.”
Nagul said Kokoda Track Foundation has three solar electrification programmes for rural and communities which were:
- Light up PNG;
- Solar Buddy; and,
- Village Connect.
He said in the Light up PNG project, the foundation worked with female entrepreneurs to establish sustainable, solar-based micro-enterprises in remote areas.
That was ensures women can earn a reliable income and provide solar solutions to their communities.
Nagul said Kokoda Track Foundation had so far reached Northern, Central, Gulf and Autonomous Region of Bougainville with 700 lights.
The 700 lights were issued to around 17 woman groups in 2017.
“With Solar Buddy, we align this to our education programme,” he said.
“We give solar lights to students and teachers, and also to parents in rural areas so that their studies and school work at night is aided.
“Through our impact assessment research, we have found out that time spent on homework by students has increased by 78 per cent.
“Parents’ expenditure on kerosene has dramatically dropped, which is the direct positive result of our programmes.”
Nagul said the foundation aimed to connect 2000 homes across Papua New Guinea by the end of this year through the Village Connect programme.