Small Scale Solar in Liberia

At the personal request of the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Nobel Prize laureate and a former colleague of Roma Stibravy’s from UNDP, NGO Sustainability has initiated a renewable energy program.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (on the right)

NGO Sustainability’s project, “Introducing Small Scale Solar in Liberia,” seeks to support community participation through training in the use and production of solar cookers, improved cook stoves, solar pumps, WAPIs and solar lanterns. It is also anticipated that upon successful completion, this project would be replicated in other parts of Liberia as an initiative that helps in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

According to the World Health Organization, “1.6 million women and children in developing countries die from fumes from indoor biomass stoves.“ Close attention must be paid especially to women and children, who are mainly responsible for wood-gathering and cooking.

As an alternative, we recommend an ecologically conscious cooking approach that includes both solar cookers and improved cookstoves because they are convenient for rural villages and because they are simple to assemble and cost effective. Additionally, solar cookers, instead of using fossil fuels, can be used in conjunction with water pasteurization devices. Solar cookers would alleviate the potential health problems associated with people drinking contaminated water, such as cholera and diarrhea.

Liberia population’s dependence on biomass for fuel has accelerated environmental degradation, and has had adverse health, social and economic impacts. Therefore, NGO Sustainability’s project to introduce sustainable energy into Liberia would not only serve the country’s interest, but would also provide a model for other developing communities to improve their standards of living in a sustainable, carbon-neutral atmosphere.

NGO Sustainability is also working with the President of Tubman University, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell, and the President of Marylanders for Progress, Roberta Brown, to create a solar training faculty and a solar center for West Africa. The University is looking to become 70% solar for its energy uses.