July 8, 2013
To all the students and former students out there, imagine having only until sunset, or around 7 PM, to complete your homework every night. Once that light is gone your only option is a small candle that provides a minimal amount of light. For students in many sub-Saharan countries this severe hindrance is a reality. However, change could be on its way.
Power Africa is a new $7 Billion initiative by President Obama that will work with various countries from across sub-Saharan Africa to combat the shortage of access to electricity that is currently facing roughly two-thirds of the population and 85 percent of people living in rural areas. In his speech announcing the new initiative the president remarked, â€œAccess to electricity is fundamental to opportunity in this age. It’s the light that children study by; the energy that allows an idea to be transformed into a real business.â€
Among those countries that will benefit from Power Africa is Uganda, where only 14 percent of the 37 million citizens have access to grid electricity. This lack of access is even worse in rural areas, where only 6.9 percent of people are connected to electricity. The initiative will specifically target the oil and gas industries in Uganda, in which they will work to promote a responsible and environmentally conscious growth plan that will help begin meeting the needs of the country.
At Building Tomorrow we know far too well what this shortage of electricity means for our work in improving educational opportunities in rural communities. We work to provide these opportunities by building safe and well-equipped schools with teachers who are giving these students the education they deserve. But, the work that is done in-class is only part of the solution necessary for preparing these students. The concepts learned at BT Academies must be reiterated at home for the true potential of these students to be reached. But for so many of our students, this is not currently possible. A lack of electricity means a lack of dependable and abundant light, forcing them to rely on candles or less instead. This lack of light makes it much harder or impossible to read books, complete writing assignments, and answer math problems.
We at Building Tomorrow are very excited about Power Africa and the new opportunities it could bring to see our students succeed like never before.