Kpalay, Nimba County – Liberia has one of the lowest access rates for electricity in the world. According to the UN-backed organisation Sustainable Energy for All, just 26% of the population have access to electricity.
In rural areas, only 6% of people have electricity and most people rely on solar lanterns and dry-cell batteries as they cannot connect to the national grid.
Others need to purchase costly charging services for their phones, expensive batteries for their lights, or kerosene, which when used indoors have negative health impacts.
In an effort to bringing electricity to people of portion of Liberia’s improverished and remote communities, a young US-based Liberian has installed floating solar energy lights in his native Kpalay Town in Nimba County.
The venture led by a local team back home on behalf of Gonser Zou has installed solar panels throughout his home town of Kpalay which is providing a steady supply of power during the night hours in that rural side of the country.
Walking in Kpalay Town nowadays following the recent installation of the solar lights will give you the distinct feeling of being in a place that is very different to the several villages you have passed on the way over. Apart from the dense greenery, what would catch your notice is all the energy – solar lights, that is.
The entire Kpalay Town (silently) hums with solar power. This is not just unique, but nothing short of a revolution.
Making remarks at the dedicatory ceremony of the solar energy lights through a proxy, Gonser Zou admonished other Liberians and Africans living in the diaspora not to depend on their governments alone to provide social services to their people because they cannot do all.
“I think it is about time that we come together as Africans to make our African continent a better living place on planet Earth, I can assure you if each country in Africa get advance in development no one will want to travel to Europe or America”, he urged.
“My brothers and sisters who are in a better position please let each one of us under take one project every year in our country, you do not have to do this only in the city but you can help your people in the interior by taking the initiative to build school, hospital or other essentials things for your people in your home town.”
He added: “Doing this will beautify your country and put African countries on path with western countries.”
Continuing, Zou stated: “I’m so proud and happy to be a Liberian and a born son of Kpalay. The last time we came here and presented LD$200,000 but today we are here to drive away the darkness from this town with an advance solar lights.”
Mr. Zou promised to work with other goodwill Liberians and friends of Liberia in soliciting support to build a modern public clinic in Kpalay Town community to be controlled by the government.
He, however, clarified that his gestures to his native town have no political motive but on humanitarian basic.
“Once again in my entire life I do not want to be a politician or want to put my hand in politic so you should not mind the good I’m doing and then group yourselves to petition me for any public offices, that’s not my dream, my dream and my prayer is that God should bless me with long life, and give me the opportunity to continue helping my people.”
At the same time, the young US-based Liberian humanitarian and enterperuer admonished parents to report rape cases to the police and should not settle rape cases as family matter.
Meanwhile, the solar energy lights project dedication sparked huge jubilations amongst the locals with many expressing gratitudes.
“Life in the village would come to a complete standstill after sunset. But with light in our town now, our children are studying during night hours,” said villager Edith Paye, 36.
“Shops and business establishments remain open in the evening. We can work more. All this is generating more income for us,” she said.
She added: “We had no electricity for us to see why walking at night. The women cooked in the dark while smoke from burning firewood filled the rooms, the children could not study, and we could not see if snakes had entered the house.”
For her part, Mrs Mary Zou extended gratitude to Gonser Zou for the initiative and pleaded that he should continue to look back in the area of development for his home town.
She, however, called on residents of Kpalay Town to embrace such development and protect it.
Doing so, madame Zou asserted that it could encourage others to reachout with needed developments for the town.
Also speaking, the Town Chief of Kpalay expressed appreciation to Gonser Zou for the initiative, promising that the lights will be properly maintained under his watch.