In 2017, the Solterre Team wanted to improve upon the existing battery backup system that provides electricity to the library during the frequent grid outages. Improving this system meant installing an off-grid solar photovoltaic system including a roof-mounted solar array and battery bank. This means that the library is now disconnected from the national power grid and able to provide its own electricity. As electricity in Ghana is very expensive, this allows scarce resources to be invested in other areas of the library’s maintenance and operation.
Solterre Design in partnership with ICO and the NKA Foundation has been working in the village of Abetenim for the past 3 years to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for young people graduating from junior high school.
As many families in the village lack the financial resources to send their children out of the community to attend high school, education is a privilege in the village. Attending high school in a nearby town is often out of reach for families in Abetenim, as the cost of transportation, books, uniforms, and fees are too high.
Solterre Design has worked to raise money from private donors in order to fund the high school education of the classes graduating from junior high. This initiative will be ongoing until completion of the Abetenim high school.
At the time of writing, 14 students have the opportunity to attend high school, most in the nearby community of Juaben. This is made possible thanks to generous sponsor donations.
Water & Sanitation
Over the past 3 years, Solterre Design has focused on water and sanitation projects in the village.
As 96% of community members get their water from a single community borehole, water access is limited in the village. The borehole is located on the periphery of the community and at the bottom of a hill. To assist the village with water access, Solterre Design has revived a previously drilled borehole near the center of the village. This borehole has been connected to an electric pump and elevated cistern in order to provide a reliable supply of water for community members.
Access to sanitation is also an issue in the village with 64% of community members relying on public latrines. In order to address this issue, Solterre Design has constructed several public latrines at the elementary school, community library, and clinic building. The latrines are of a dry composting design that helps to minimize water consumption and helps to eliminate harmful bacteria through the composting process.
During the 6-week project trip to Abetenim, the Solterre team was able to conduct an extensive community survey in the village with the approval and encouragement of the chief. This survey was designed with input from key community stakeholders and aimed to collect information on village lifestyles and input from residents on future project work.
The survey was conducted with 31 households participating, with these households accounting for over 300 members of the community. The information collected during this survey will help community leaders, the NKA Foundation, and Solterre Design establish priorities for the next round of project work in the village.