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Solar TV System Offers Information & Safety to Families in Rural Kenya

In 2007, when Kenya’s presidential election turned deadly, western Kenya faced the brunt of the violence. Riots left 1,500 people dead and over half a million displaced.

Dorine Adhiambo, her husband, and four children live on the edge of Kolwa in Western Kenya. In Dorine’s village, only three of her neighbours have grid connections, and one other family owns a solar home system with TV.

Dorine walks to nearby towns to sell second-hand clothes at the markets. Disconnected from energy services, Dorine had no way of knowing if it was safe to go to work during the riots and often had to flee home for safety.

“In town there were clashes, police walking around with guns, fires lit and people running all around”, said Dorine. “People were killed.”

This year, Dorine and her husband saved enough money – 6,200 shillings ($62) – for a down payment on a Mobisol Solar TV System, which comes with a TV and two lights. Dorine stays caught up on current events and local news, making sure that she and her family are safe.

Now, her home is a destination for neighbourhood children, who crowd into her modest mud-walled house to watch cartoons and educational programs. The kids learn from the programs they watch, and it helps their English.

Though their daily income is variable, Dorine and her husband only pay 58 shillings a day, which Dorine says is affordable. In three years they will own the system.

In off- or weak-grid communities, televisions are the second most desired off-grid appliance, according to a recent Global LEAP survey. They can have significant social and economic impacts, particularly for women and children. The Global LEAP Awards have held three awards programs to identify and promote super-efficient, high quality, off- and weak-grid appropriate televisions.

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