Hazel Williams is the humanitarian coordinator for Darfur of CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales). She recently paid a visit to some of the many camps that house people who have fled fighting in the region. Caritas works with the Act Alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies in a unique ecumenical cooperation, through the operations of Norwegian Church Aid, Sudanaid (a Caritas member) and the Sudan Council of Churches.
Solar power is making an extraordinary difference in camps in Darfur, Sudan, by providing much needed water to those living there.
As we enter Khamsadigay camp, which houses just under 20,000 people, we weave through narrow alleys between the temporary structures that people have slowly erected over the last eight or nine years. It’s a Friday morning, so the dusty burnt orange sand tracks are illuminated by groups of flowing white galabiyas – the traditional robes that Dafurian men wear for Friday prayers.
We are here to visit a solar powered water pump that provides 29 litres of water to each person living in the camp per day. It’s really quite amazing just how much water the camp has. They may suffer many challenges, but thanks to our local partner’s programme and the community’s commitment, water is definitely not one of them.
As we stand under the large solar panels, with the sun glaring down on us, one of my guides, from our partner Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), starts to explain how solar power has transformed the lives of those living within the camp. The provision of water only uses a very small amount of the power produced – and given how my skin is burning, I can well believe these panels are working overtime. Continue reading