COVID-19 has had a disruptive impact on all our current projects in Liberia. The national state of emergency has made it impossible us to do anything but very limited useful activities. Everything is now in a holding pattern and we are in a state of limbo with our social enterprise.
We have decided to suspend our projects and all our work in Liberia until it is safe and economically feasible to begin again.
Thank you so much for your generous support in the past and we hope that when conditions improve that we can move forward together again.
Wishing all of you safety during this COVID-19 period as we pray and work toward its end sooner rather than later.
Since our last report in January and our invitation to you to be part of our new initiative, 100 for 100 Solar Home Kits, very little progress has taken place in terms of raising the needed funds to undertake this project. As a result of the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to predict what the future holds for our ongoing work in Liberia.
We will continue to monitor the situation in the future after this virus has subsided or been eliminated from all of our lives and we're able to assess the ramification and impact it will have on our operations.
Best regards to all and keep safe in the wake of this pandemic.
During our First Annual Fundraising Event on November 16, the Board launched a new initiative to supply rural homes in Liberia with solar home kits to replace solar lanterns. Through site visits over the years, we observed that some of the cables linking the portable solar lanterns to the panels were breaking due to frequent use. Hence, an upgrade to a more reliable technology system is necessary.
We invite you to be part of our new initiative, 100 for 100 Solar Home Kits. As you may already know, lighting homes with kerosene and flashlights is the largest single expense for villagers in rural Liberia. The smartest way to control that expense is to stop buying kerosene and batteries. Village Improvement Project is asking you to make available 100 home solar kits to help provide years of zero-cost clean renewable energy for families in rural Liberia where children can have bright and safe lighting to study at night and families can extend their activities into the night.
A home solar kit comes with four light sources with three levels of brightness including a solar panel and a control box that charges devices and plays music. You can brighten so many lives by donating toward a whole-home solar kit for a family living off the electricity grid in rural Liberia. Your continuing support of VIP, Inc. is helping to "light the night and illuminate Liberia" one village at a time. The cost of a kit is $150. Please donate a kit for a family.
Lighting homes with kerosene and flashlights is the largest single expense for villagers in rural Liberia, and the smartest way to control that expense is to stop buying kerosene and batteries. So, Village Improvement Project's new goal is to send 100 home solar kits to help provide years of zero-cost clean renewable energy to families in rural Liberia where children can have bright and safe lighting to study at night and families can extend their activities into the night.
The shift from solar lanterns to solar home kits which are more expensive per unit comes from our monitoring visits and observations about how the solar lanterns are being used by villagers in Liberia. Over the years, individual users of the portable lanterns have not handled well the cable wire connected to the solar panel that charges the lantern. The wire breaks off due to the frequency of charging required to maintain power in the light. Due to the remoteness of some towns and villages, some users are unable to repair the cable and the lithium battery goes dead after a prolonged period without charge.
With a home solar kit, the panel is installed on the roof and permanently connected to the control box or hub which prevents wear-and-tear.
Village Improvement Project’s Chairman of the Board, Dr. LeRoy Boikai, will be traveling to Liberia next month. While he is there, he will be visiting areas where we have distributed solar lanterns. He will also be meeting with our Liberian volunteer and paid staff who have been actively monitoring the use of lanterns that we have distributed over the past two years.
Some of the previously distributed lanterns are no longer functioning. The team has collected these lanterns and brought them to Monrovia for repair to be returned as soon as the repair is completed. Observation from the field attributes some of the light failures to mishandling and improper charging that have led to dead batteries.
We will continue to educate villagers on effective ways to use their lights so that they remain in service for a much longer time of three to four years. A major goal of this project is to implement a good recycling program so that lights that are no longer in service can be retrieved, repaired and when no longer functioning to be disposed of properly.
VIP is also seeking corporate sponsors to donate lanterns. Our partnership with Panasonic enabled us to donate 300 solar lanterns. Your generous support makes it possible for us to continue pursuing similar grants and partnerships.
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