President Obama's grandmother installs solar panels

by Stephen Hurrell. Published Mon 24 Aug 2009 11:47, Last updated: 2009-08-24
Picture courtesy of Greenpeace

US President Barack Obama’s grandmother has installed solar panels on the roof of her house in Kenya as part of a 20-day workshop aiming to increase renewable energy production in the African country.

The Kibera Community Youth Programme and Greenpeace’s Solar Generation have joined forces to install solar panels on the Senator Barack Obama School in Kogelo and on the President's grandmother's house.

Mama Sarah, Obama’s grandmother, said: “I am very pleased that my home has been improved thanks to solar energy and I'll make sure my grandson hears about it. Solar power is clean, reliable and affordable, unlike paraffin that is widely used in the area. Also, we now have qualified youth in the village who can help with the upkeep of the systems.”

As part of the programme, young Kenyans are learning how to maintain and install the technology. The programme follows ongoing Greenpeace Solar Generation campaigns in Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey.

Robert Kheyi, Project Coordinator for the Kibera Community Youth Programme, said: “The workshop and practical installation of solar power are a critical opportunity for us to develop our own skills in renewable energy installation. Not only do we get to act against the devastating effects of climate change in Kenya, but also develop a source of revenue.”

Kenya has suffered from severely reduced rainfall due to climate change. This, in combination with poor land use, has caused hydroelectric power to become unreliable.

"It is time for the industrialised countries to give something back. At the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December, President Obama and other world leaders must agree to avert further climate chaos, including agreeing to fund projects like this throughout the developing world to help them both adapt to and mitigate climate change,” said Abigail Jabines, Greenpeace Solar Generation Campaign Coordinator.

Greenpeace is calling for rich countries to contribute US$140 billion annually to support climate adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in the developing world.

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