For Immediate Release
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President Barack Obama's Grandmother Joins the 'Solar Generation' in Kenya
KOGELO, Kenya - Young Kenyans working with Greenpeace's Solar Generation are tackling the twin problems of energy poverty and climate change today, by installing solar panels on the Senator Barack Obama School in Kogelo and on the roof of the house of Mama Sarah - the US President's grandmother.
Mama Sarah said: "I am very pleased that my home has been improved thanks to solar energy and I'll make sure my grandson hears about it. Solar power is clean, reliable and affordable, unlike paraffin that is widely used in the area. Also, we now have qualified youth in the village who can help with the upkeep of the systems."
The solar installations are part of a 20 day renewable energy workshop hosted by Greenpeace's Solar Generation with 25 participants from the Kibera Community Youth Programme (1) and community members of Nyang'oma Kogelo. Young Kenyans are learning how solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity and about their installation and maintenance, the fabrication of self-assembling solar lamps and marketing potential.
Robert Kheyi, project coordinator for the Kibera Community Youth Programme, said: "The workshop and practical installation of solar power are a critical opportunity for us to develop our own skills in renewable energy installation. Not only do we get to act against the devastating effects of climate change in Kenya, but also develop a source of revenue."
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Kenya, like many other countries in Africa, is on the climate impacts frontline. It has seen a drastic reduction in rainfall in recent years. Drought has worsened problems in agriculture caused by poor land use and desertification, making Kenya's large scale hydro power unreliable.
Faced with these challenges, investing in solar energy technologies is a win-win strategy. It strengthens the economy and protects the environment, while ensuring a reliable and clean energy supply. The solar industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity. There is no technical impediment to doing this, just a political barrier to overcome as we rebuild the global energy sector.
"It is time for the industrialised countries to give something back. At the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December President Obama and other world leaders must agree to avert further climate chaos including agreeing to fund projects like this throughout the developing world to help them both adapt to and mitigate climate change." said Abigail Jabines, Greenpeace Solar Generation campaign coordinator.
Greenpeace is calling for rich countries to contribute US$140 billion annually to support climate adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in the developing world. With just 15 weeks left to go till the decisive UN climate talks in Copenhagen, Greenpeace urges world leaders to emulate the innovative young people of Kibera and Kogelo and translate their climate rhetoric into action in Copenhagen.
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