Mini-grids, maximum impact

Electricity access is essential for people’s lives and livelihoods: from using fridges to store food and medicine; charging mobile phones to stay connected; lighting up households and schools at night; to powering local businesses.

Yet 590 million people in Africa currently live without access to electricity, the majority in rural areas. These areas risk being left even further behind.

Those who have access often rely on polluting, unreliable and costly diesel-powered generators. Solar-powered mini-grids could be the answer to rural access and dirty energy. Well-suited to small, remote communities, renewable energy mini-grids can now be the cheaper, greener option for rural electrification.

But it’s not that simple. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that will work in every African country, let alone every small community.

The good news is that governments, donors and the private sector have set up peer-to-peer learning networks such as the Africa Mini-Grids Community of Practice to try and tackle this issue.

Original article by Charlie Zajicek – Source Odi

Culture Wellbeing

Brick by brick

David Aguilar has built himself a robotic prosthetic arm using Lego pieces after being born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition.

Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, is already using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic and his dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them.

Original article by Pilar Suárez – Source Reuters

Culture Equality

Women of Ireland Fund

The Taoiseach has welcomed the launch of a new fund aimed at helping disadvantaged women into employment.

Leo Varadkar has spoken of his hopes for the 1.8 million euro (£1.58 million) Mna na hEireann – Women of Ireland – fund.

It will be the first in the nation to support charities and social enterprises that seek to aid women experiencing disadvantage access to sustained employment.

Mr Varadkar said: “The 1.8 million euro fund has the potential to create a lasting impact and transform the lives of the women involved and add value to our society.

“This initiative also complements the work being done by Government to reduce the gender pay gap in Ireland and ensure greater representation of women across all sectors of Irish society.”

Source ITV


Bootstrap Bootcamp

“I’d just finished university, and was looking for jobs, but I knew what I really wanted to do was start my own thing. I had my idea, but you’re not taught how to set up a business at uni, so I just felt completely at a loss.”

It’s a feeling that could apply to any number of budding entrepreneurs across the UK, many with the potential to have a positive impact on community life.

But these are the words of Bea Herbert, founder of mental health enterprise States of Mind, describing how she felt before joining the Enterprise Bootcamp run by Hackney business charity Bootstrap in 2017.

Source Hackney Citizen

Planet Wellbeing

Plastic boat raises pollution awareness

The dhows, with their swollen triangular veils, are an icon on the Kenyan coast, having crossed these waters of the Indian Ocean for about 2,000 years.

With its characteristic triangular sail, this boat, having embarked on an expedition along the East African coast, has almost everything from traditional dhow.

Ali Skanda is builder of the ‘Flipflopi:’ “We had this dream of doing plastic dhow, as we are doing so much in the world, and we feel it’s our responsibility to make this solution, because we are polluting our environment, many creatures are suffering from this jungle of plastic.”

The Flipflopi was built thanks to plastic waste collected especially on Kenyan beaches.

Source africanews

Culture Equality

The Warm Age Wood Company

A GROUP of volunteer knitters say ensuring the continued success of a social enterprise committed to keeping people warm is the best possible tribute to the project’s late founder.

Dave Watson launched The Warm Age Wood Company, in Barnard Castle, five years ago. Sadly, he died in late 2017 of pancreatic cancer.

The enterprise provides wood briquettes for those in fuel poverty.

It does this through the general sale of briquettes – with one bag provided free to those in need for every ten sold – and money raised through the sale of woollen items knitted by volunteers.

Figures for 2017/18 show the company sold 1,305 bags of briquettes and since last September another 774.

This means more than 200 free bags of briquettes have been provided to those in fuel poverty during that period.

Original article by Stuart Laundy – Source Teesdale Mercury


‘WorldClass’ education

Professional services firm Deloitte Sunday said it will provide education and skills training to 10 million girls and women in India with an aim to equip them to find a meaningful work.

The exercise will be carried out under its global initiative WorldClass, Deloitte said in a statement.

The initiative aims “to support 10 million girls and women by 2030 through education and skills development”, it said.


The sky’s the limit

It’s a building project with towering ambitions—to use all 17 of the UN’s Global Goals as a sustainability blueprint for a 35,000-square-metre eco-village being built on the southern outskirts of Copenhagen.

Amid dire warnings about the need to rapidly rein in carbon dioxide emissions, Danish architects Lendager Group, and project partners Årstiderne Arkitekter, want their 400-home development in Ørestad South to set a new standard for sustainable construction.

“We see the Sustainable Development Goals as a global tool with a holistic approach to the world’s sustainability challenges. A tool and a language that can be understood across sectors and countries,” Lendager says in its project description for the UN17 Village development.

Source UN Environment

Equality Wellbeing

‘I hope Kanye samples it’

It’s 11am on Friday morning and there are some weird and wonderful psychedelic sounds emanating from a small, makeshift music studio in north London. Inside, Patricia Angol is playing the xylophone, Mui Tang is touching a Kaoss Pad – an audio effects unit – and Fathima Maharali is singing into a microphone. When they finish, their session leader, Jack Daley, fiddles on a computer, overlaying each musical section before playing it back. There are smiles and high-fives all round.


Paws on Plastic

Marion Montgomery launched Paws on Plastic in an effort to tackle the increasing amount of plastic pollution that blights coastal towns.

Her campaign encourages dog walkers to pick up at least two items of rubbish every time they take their dog out for a walk, using a spare poo bag or carrier bag.

The Gourdon Primary School teacher came up with the idea after numerous walks with her dog Murphy, who died in 2015.

He would often come across waste items and bring them to her, leaving Ms Montgomery with the choice of leaving the rubbish behind or disposing of it proper