Often when people think of the desert, they think of a hot, dry climate – a place where water is scarce, and sunshine is plentiful. And indeed, this is what it’s like across much of rural Senegal. As part of our renewable energy projects, however, CREATE! works to utilize solar energy in Senegal to make water as plentiful as the sunshine in rural communities.

How Does it Work?

CREATE! technicians collaborate with community volunteers and traditional well diggers to restore abandoned wells in our partner villages. They start by cleaning out debris that has accumulated at the bottom and installing a solar-powered pump. Next, technicians install an integrated solar array, elevated reservoir, and gravity-fed water irrigation system. CREATE! technicians have years of experience and expertise in installing these types of integrated solar power systems. Following the installation, technicians teach cooperative members how to maintain their solar arrays themselves. Because of their training, community members can then run the system on their own without relying on outside help.

solar energy in Senegal

CREATE! technicians help communities set up a solar powered system that pumps water from the well into a 5,000 liter reservoir nearby. From there, a gravity-fed irrigation system brings the water out to their community gardens.

Maintaining the Solar Panels

The system is well-suited for rural areas and remote locations. CREATE!‘s technicians – with the help of community volunteers – are diligent about maintaining the solar panel arrays by cleaning them twice weekly. It is important to clean the panels regularly because dust from the desert collects quickly on the surface and can reduce the effectiveness of the solar panels.

solar energy in Senegal

CREATE! technicians work with participants to scrub the solar panel arrays twice every week to clean off the dust that accumulates on the surface.

The Benefits of Solar Energy

Participants seem to agree that it’s all well worth the effort.  Maguette Diagne, 45, of Diender, reports that she used to have to treat the water in her village because it was “salty” (contaminated) and would make people sick. “Since the well rehabilitation by CREATE!, the whole village drinks this water now, and many other villages come to get the water, too,” she says. With the energy collected from the desert sun, Maguette’s village and neighboring communities now have access to abundant, safe drinking water that they never had before.

solar energy in Senegal

Women from the village of Santhie gather to celebrate their new solar-powered system!

“I use the water from the well for my family’s consumption, and every day I get 60 liters,” says Maguette. “I use it for watering the community garden site and the trees that I’m growing from the CREATE! tree planting campaign.”

Thanks to the power of the sun, solar energy has made it possible for Maguette, her community, and neighboring villages to have abundant, affordable access to water in the desert. As they say, “L’eau c’est la vie!” Water is life! And what better way to get it in the desert than to utilize the power of the sun.

Help Us Bring Water to Three New Communities

This fall, One Day’s Wages chosen CREATE! as the recipient of a matching grant. If we raise 50% of the grant by October 31, then One Day’s Wages will match the other 50%. This grant will support the installation of three solar-powered pumping systems in three new communities, bringing clean water to 3,000 people in rural Senegal!

Donations can be made at our campaign page or by checks made out to One Day’s Wages with CREATE! in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to the address below:

132 East Broadway, Suite 416
Eugene, OR 97401

Consider sharing our campaign with friends and family! We are so grateful for your support.