The International Collaborative - Update
The International Collaborative brings tactical solar panels to the Massai in Tanzania
Over the last few months, The International Collaborative has been in the field with the Massai in Tanzania and Kenya testing uses for tactical solar modules that were donated by The Last Kilometer and SBM Solar.
In later 2016 The Last Kilometer held a successful fundraiser to enable the provision of 150 portable solar power systems to the Maasai people in Tanzania, which will be used to meet the needs of the community, including staples such as water purification and nighttime lighting, as well as empower Maasai women to undertake new roles in their communities as leaders and innovators.
The process of importing non-commercial solar equipment into Tanzania was a long one. Thanks to months of work by the team and assistance from Ambassador Bloomfield with the Tanzanian embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Robert Lange and Kisioki Lengoije of the International Collaborative were able to receive the solar panels in Tanzania and deliver them to the Maasai during a workshop on improved farming techniques in Southern Kenya. The first batch of solar panels was used in support of new cattle management efforts that will provide added resilience during drought. The herd includes the cows of a women's group organized by the International Collaborative. The panels were used to pump water from far underground to buried water tanks.
One of the goals of the program is to determine the benefits of using tactical solar modules, which can be transported to and used in austere environments. These modules were developed by SBM solar for the United States Marine Corps, and can survive transport and use in terrain that would destroy most solar panels. These early successful tests lead us to believe that the technology will benefit agriculture and farming in the more remote regions of Sub-saharan Africa and are an ideal way for nomadic farmers like the Maasai to have power for pumps and lighting.
We at the Last Kilometer are looking forward to seeing what other uses The International Collaborative and the Maasai find for these donated solar panels and how access to power improves the lives of the nomadic Maasai people.
March 1, 2018 Update: The International Collaborative frequently holds training sessions where the Maasai women can strengthen their capacity to install our micro-grids in the Maasai settlements. The portable solar panels are being used in these trainings, and coupled with small DC water pumps for irrigation systems.