Making a difference with solar by Christopher J. Onwuasoanya
Two days, I was speaking with Okey Okuzu, CEO and founder of InStrat Global Solution and he asked me to take a minute to reflect on the pioneering work we are doing in Nigeria. He reminded me that we had undertaken a massive roll out that has never been tried in the healthcare space before. In 6 weeks, AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd, InStrat Global Health Solutions, Inmarsat and United Kingdom Space Agency partnered to install solar power and high speed satellite internet at 74 healthcare centers in some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Abuja FCT, Kano and Ondo States. Some of the sites were barely accessible by 4 x 4. Getting stuck or coming up on flooded or washed out roads was the norm. Finding food to eat was a challenge for the crew. The days were long, but at the end of six weeks the job was complete.
Inmarsat and her partners had a similar roll out in two other countries. The Philippines and Malaysia. They have made multiple visits to the other two countries and are yet to sign off. They made one visit to Nigeria and were so impressed by the work done by team AWPS Renewable Energy and InStrat Global Health Solutions that they signed off the project.
The impact on the lives of the communities can’t be measured in words or pictures. During the visit by Inmarsat and the UK Space Agency to the site in Gwagwalada, they suddenly picked up internet on their IPADS. A remote location with no electricity, no phone service and suddenly you find InsStrat as your hot spot. I am sure you could imagine the look on Mr. Okuzu and the face of the partners when this happened. Each of the health centers have tablets that they use to enter track patient medical data, use as diagnostic tools and also participate in online training provided by InsStrat GHS.
Local farmers can come to the area and check weather reports, crop or seed prices. Resourceful young people can now communicate with a world far removed from them 24/7. Everyone wants to be on Facebook. Resources that were unavailable to them before are within line of site of their homes. They had to travel hours before and now they can do it right by the clinic.
When I started this journey, I wanted to make a difference, touch lives and hopefully get wealthy. These experiences makes me realize that wealth is not measured by what one has in his / her bank account. It is measured by the smiles and life changes one brings to others.