New Sites Bring Light and Life*
By Sister Lorraine Connell, SNDdeN
“Just so, your light must shine before others.”
The success of the African Photovoltaic Project in providing life and light to African communities relies on many people, and the continuing support of SNDdeN Units. Today the APP provides access to electricity, water purification systems and technology for communications in four sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in five sites in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the Sisters have two full systems now in Fugar at the Postulate house and in Awkunanaw where there are two flourishing Notre Dame schools. With the installation of solar panels for power and lighting at the community houses in Abuja, Enugu, and Ilorin, the APP is protecting the environment from the old generators’carbon emissions and providing power for refrigeration and cooling as well as technology for research, study, development and communications with the wider world. The Congregation is now expanding the project in Nigeria with another site in Oro. Workmen are installing solar panels with battery storage for this community of Sisters serving at ministries in surrounding areas.
In the Congo, the APP is already bringing power in full systems to schools, clinics, hospitals and communities at the first site in Ngidinga and added sites in Lemfu, Kitenda, and Pelende. Since our Congregation supports sustainable human development in our school, hospital and clinic in Ngidinga, a Belgian Technical Corporation, a public service provider in developing countries and an agent of the Belgian Government, decided to fund the existing system at this site. This Belgian firm has improved the hospital with new sanitation, a new kitchen and upgraded laboratories for the expansion of medical services for the people. Our Congregation is upgrading and doubling the size of the Ngidinga system, and replacing the water pumping system with the donations from our PUR Water Project. Congolese mother and baby
Solar panels, battery packs for storage of energy and water purification systems are now in containers en route to the Congo for three new sites: Kinsaku, Mpese and Nselo. The APP will soon reach these sites with construction and installations completed by the end of 2016.
SUCCESS IN SUSTAINABILITY
With the generous support of our provinces and donors, Sr. Leonore Coan, Director of the Mission Support, has raised over $4,000,000 for this project. The Congregation has spent over $3,000,000. The remaining million dollars, in reserve, will be used for the upgrade, currently in process. An idea, evolving from a 2002 General Chapter mandate for equal access to information and communication through technology, grew into a major miracle for sustainable life for our Sisters, their ministries, communities and the people in the Congo and Nigeria.
*Synthesis from “Life and Light in New Sites,” Good Works, March 2016, pp. 4-7.