Thursday, 7 July 2016

UNDP/ECN boost standard of living in former Boko Haram Territories

About 2,000 residents of Gaya Silkami and Fa’a Gaya village in Hong Local Government area in Adamawa state have benefitted from the United Nations Development Program UNDP Sustainable Energy for All SE4ALL project.
The project is aimed at improving access to clean energy services by harnessing the solar energy resources for electricity generation in communities ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Deputy Director of the Energy Commission of Nigeria ECN who are the technical partners of the project, Engineer Okon Ekpenyong said the project was tailored to boost the energy need of communities and enable them undertake their day to day activities as the economic status of the communities were totally destroyed by the insurgent attack.
“People in our communities have daily energy need for lighting their homes, communities. They also require water for daily household chores. This project is multifaceted to make life easy for the community”.
Engineer Ekpenyong explained that after a need analysis was conducted and data obtained from different households, that the data was instrumental in the execution of the project which was carried within one month.
“In the course of our survey, we discovered that one of the communities have two primary health centres. The lack of power supply to the communities affected the delivery of basic health care. Immunization rate was very poor as health workers have to travelled for about two hours to collect vaccines from the local government headquarters. The vaccines also have to be in good condition before they are administered. There was no place to store vaccines and keep them viable”.
“The project involves the provision of a solar-powered refrigerator to keep vaccines in good condition, solar-powered water borehole with 10,000 litres capacity for provision of potable water, solar lamps that can last for 44 hours and street lights in two strategic locations in each communities”.
The Village Head of Gaya Silkami, Mr. Jafaru Biyama described the execution time of the project as a thunder lightning.
“In the past Politicians will promise us heaven on earth but none of their promises will be fulfilled. Even after Boko Haram attacked our village twice in February 2015 and we fled to the mountains. It was hard returning back to resettle when the Nigerian Army reclaimed our village from the terrorist. How were we going to live our lives? Before now, this village has never ever been connected to power supply. But just within the blink of our eyes, UNDP has changed our lives for good”.
“I am so grateful because we don't need to buy fuel before we can power our borehole or use generator to power our health centers or keep our vaccines cold. The sun that shines in this village is our fuel. Our women no longer have to travel back and forth to the streams in search of drinking water. During dry season, it is hard to get any clean water from the stream. But that has changed now. Our community is lighted at night. We can see who is coming in and out. This is like a dream but it is for real”, he added.
The Health Officer at Gaya Silkami Health Center Mr. Javan Zakari that the project has resulted in increase attendance of antenatal classes, immunization rate and improved health operations at the health center.
“The whole health center has now been wired and connected to solar energy. There is power supply 24 hours daily. No excuse not to attend to patients. In the past we use lanterns to perform some surgical operations but now the whole place is lighted. Vaccines are available and administered without traveling long distance before we can access them. But we will appreciate, if we can get ambulances to refer our patients to hospitals in town and also a functional and equipped laboratory”, he appealed.
A youth in Gaya Silkami village Jimmy Yakubu said after the insurgent attack he had no means of livelihood but the street light in the village is boosting his business. “Many people now hang out at night and this means more sales for me. I am happy and proud of my village.
The project coordinator Mr. Sunday said youths in the two villages were trained in the installation of solar home systems, and the installations and maintenance of the solar powered water borehole during the course of the project execution.
Mr. Sunday explained that youths from the two villages are now skilled in solar power installations and maintenance.
Ga’a Faya village which is about 3-4 hours drive from Hong LGA headquarters and bordering Borno state through Chibok town, only healthcare center which was destroyed by Boko Haram insurgency is yet to be rebuilt. This has rendered the villagers with no access to healthcare.

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