Solar Backpacks Light Up Botswana School Children’s Night Studies

Lack of electricity is a major hindrance for many in Africa. For school going children, it affects hours of study, completion of their homework, revision for exams and other curriculum activities which are to be done at home, writes Baboki Kayawe for Africa Renewal.

For 32-year electronic engineer Kedumetse Liphi, a chance meeting, and Botswana’s plentiful supply of sunlight prompted him to create a pioneering solar backpack brand dubbed ‘Chedza,’ which means light in English.

The solar-powered invention is a compact backpack, made from durable, waterproof canvas, and includes an integrated solar panel which absorbs and stores sunlight during the day for use later at night.

According to the International Energy Agency, 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Botswana, with a population of 2.5 million, access to electricity stood at 72% in 2020, according to the World Bank. The organisation Sustainable Energy for All, points out that the country has reached 77% electricity access for the urban population, while in rural areas is still limited to 37%, although increasing.

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