Thursday, May 31, 2012

Solar-Powered Phones Recharge Kenya's Conversations

The upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development will try to identify solutions to worsening resource scarcity and climate change, but Habiba Rage may already be holding one in the palm of her hand.
Chief Mohammed Abdi use his newly acquired solar phone
to communicate with a villager in northern Kenya. Solar-
powered phones fill a need in areas of Kenya off the
conventional electrical grid.

The 38-year-old from Alago Alba in Kenya’s North Eastern Region has overcome her village’s lack of connection to the electricity grid with a cell phone that uses solar energy to recharge.

“Our village does not have electricity,” says the mother of four. “It is very difficult to own a mobile phone because of the energy it needs to keep working.”

Habiba needs a phone for her livelihood as a trader including to keep track of stock arriving from Isiolo, the nearest urban center. Attacks by bandits along the 110 km (70 mile) route are not uncommon.

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