We finally made it! Our journey has taken us from Seattle, to Dubai, to Lusaka, to the village of Cheeba. Cheeba is a fishing community in Zambia’s Southern province. They are close to one of Zambia’s largest hydropower stations, yet the power lines pass them by. There is no electricity in Cheeba. There is no running water. Roads into and out of Cheeba are impassible during the rainy season.
Cheeba does, however, have a strong sense of community and a shared commitment to sustainable development. They are well-organized and entrepreneurial. We are working with one community group: the Kafue Lower Women’s Business group to implement a solar kiosk. Our partner on this project is Caritas Monze, the development arm of the Monze Diocese. The women’s group, with the assistance of Caritas Monze, developed a business plan to use the electricity in a way that will boost the local economy. They plan to freeze fish and chicken, run a barbershop with electric trimmers, and open a small sewing business.
Rather than traveling all the way from the U.S. to have our volunteers install the kiosk, we always hire licensed Zambian solar installers. This helps local businesses and builds capacity in Zambia. Our team is here to make sure the installation runs smoothly, install a data acquisition system designed by our volunteers, conduct technical training, and to conduct valuable baseline surveys that we will use in the future to measure the impact that the kiosk has on the community. Our team is excited to be here and to be working with such great partners in such a wonderful community for a terrific cause. Stay tuned this week to learn how the trip goes!