Young Life in Freetown | Calaba Town Has Switched On the Lights

Four years after former National Football League (NFL) safety Madieu Williams and members of the Maryland Sustainable Engineering group came together to provide solar-powered lighting for Calaba Town’s Abigail D. Butcher Primary School, which Williams founded in 2009, the solar program project got a megawatt jolt. Inyilla Conteh reports. 

Calaba Town, or Kalba Tong as the community calls it, has been subject to power blackouts for years. 

In, 2013, the small town was cut off for over 6 months, and most affected was the Mayenkineh area.  But those dark days of frequent blackouts are now a thing of the past.

The town is on a new grid, controlled by the national electricity distribution supply authority, which originated from the old national power authority.

Some of the community people and leaders said that constant power supply has enriched their lives. 

Gone are the days when they had to pay a thousand Leones  (about 18 cents in the U.S. dollar) just to get their mobile phones charged at local charging centers. 

Due to the shortage of power, their children hardly make good grades because when night fell, homes went dark and the children were not able to read their school notes. Chinese lamps were not reliable and poor parents were not able to buy batteries for the lamps regularly, as they're quite expensive.

Now there is constant electricity supply, they're certain that their children will start to make good grades, and families will no longer have to pay to get their mobile phones charged.

The people of Calaba town community hope this the lights are on for good. They will also like to see improvements in healthcare, water supply, roads, education, and more jobs.

For Young life in Freetown, I'm Inyilla Conteh reporting.

****At the state opening of Parliament in December 2015, President Koroma announced that his administration aimed to provide 1000 megawatts by 2017 to increase access to electricity.

He also said work on distribution networks in the western part of Freetown and the upgrade of primary networks in the eastern part has commenced.

These interventions were expected to extend access to electricity to underserved areas in Freetown, such as Pamuronkoh Calaba Town.

The government of Sierra Leone and Department for International Development (DFID) signed an agreement to partner in the Energy Africa Campaign in October 2015. This partnership will complement efforts to expand large-scale energy infrastructure connecting people now, while they wait for the grid to reach them.


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