Hello again there folks,
Short update from Lesotho to catch you all up! We're at an exciting stage with our projects, in productive conversations with the stakeholders and government here in Lesotho to get permits and contracts in place: holding community meetings (you'll see one in the photos), completing environmental assessments, and designing energy systems.
We also had a team of fantastic Energy Access Fellows with us in Lesotho for the past several months: Mamaswatsi, Ruitian, Rohan, and Bahla. Our Fulbright Fellow Erika also wrapped up her time and project with us. Attached is a photo of a team dinner while everyone was still in town.
Mamaswatsi and Ruitian, working with team members Makoanyane and Kubutu, conducted surveys at several communities throughout Lesotho - communities identified to be part of an upcoming UNDP project to build 10 minigrids across the country. They spent some cold nights up in the highlights to collect data on the people, buildings, and environments making up some of these communities. Back in Maseru Rohan put his economics studies to work upgrading Onepower's minigrid design tool to better model the range of funding options that we foresee in the future. Bahla, an engineer starting graduate school this September, prototyped new capabilities for Onepower's smart meters, working toward the first version that can be used for energy delivery in addition to energy monitoring.
Erika wrapped up a very productive 9 months of studying Productive Uses of Electricity (PUE) - identifying ways that Onepower can support development of businesses and other productive activities in the communities we serve. As part of this work she surveyed communities to find out what types of businesses individuals would like to start - everything from butcheries to piggeries to internet cafes - as well as understanding what types of equipment these businesses would need. This is critical in developing pipelines for small business loans and other support structures for these would-be entrepreneurs.
And we've been making upgrades to the new space all along the way - including having our lathe delivered from our old partner's facility in Bethel to Ha Thetsane (picture here for you all to see).
Wishing you all a pleasant September!
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