Solar power for an orphanage in Ethiopia

The Catholic mission in Dire Dawa has existed since 1990 and is currently led by Reverend Worku Demeke. It is intensively committed to sustainably improving the living conditions of the people living there. With our project to install a 20 kW solar system on the roof of the vicarage complex, we have made a lasting contribution and also provided clean and free energy to support the orphans and young people in their school work, among other things.

Dire Dawa is the seventh largest city in Ethiopia and is located in the north-east of the country. The Catholic mission in Dire Dawa is an integral part of an overall Catholic mission in Ethiopia. It has existed since 1990 and is currently led by Rev. Worku Demeke. The Church has been firmly anchored in Ethiopia for centuries and is an integral part of the country's history. The Vicariate of Harar is working hard in Eastern Ethiopia to improve the living conditions of the people living there, especially women and children. In Dire Dawa, the mission runs a school and an orphanage for up to 60 children. The association's project aims to alleviate the current energy supply problems. Thanks to the 20 kWp (20,000 Watt) solar power plant, the clean electricity can be distributed to both the orphanage and the school. Thus, everyday energy needs can be better met and additional energy can be used to power computers for educational purposes and to light the premises.

Here you can watch another video from the region!

Project goals

The project aimed to successfully achieve the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Creation of potentials and improvement of equal opportunities for the independent realisation of sustainable development goals in the local society.

  1. Imparting expert knowledge and raising awareness on issues of climate change and renewable energy sources
  2. Creation of potentials and improvement of equal opportunities for the independent realisation of sustainable development goals in the local society
  3. Building and strengthening professional skills to improve the economic situation and individual career opportunities
  4. Sustainable eradication of poverty through the development of skills for labour market integration in the renewable energy sector, which, according to planned government measures, will have a considerable need for qualified professionals in the coming years

Project procedure

With the end of the Christmas holidays, the installation on site could begin. A roof structure for the solar panels was completed in advance by the Vicariate in time. The installation of the 20kW rooftop solar system has measurably improved life at the orphanage. At least 60 orphans, 40 students and a larger number of women will be supported by our project until the solar panels last (20 years). Through the electricity provided, the orphans can, for example, do school work even at dusk and in poor lighting conditions. Furthermore, the permanent and stable supply of electricity to the vicarage enables administrative and management work to be carried out more effectively in the long term, as there is no longer a risk of constant power cuts and the resulting damage to computer equipment. The approximately 30 employees of the vicariate can thus pursue their mission and main activities, i.e. the improvement of living conditions of socially disadvantaged groups, especially children and women, more effectively. This creates additional time that can be used for charitable support and progressive measures.

Installation on the roof at a dizzy height

With full commitment at work

Inspection of the successfully installed 20kW solar microsystem

The 20kW solar microsystem was funded by the Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken

Training activities

The idea of the training or education measure in Dire Dawa arose in the summer of 2020, when the delivery of the solar modules for the recipient organisation of the community of the Vicariate of Dire Dawa was put together. The training was intended to provide local technicians and installers with expertise so that some of them, as multipliers, would subsequently be able to conduct their own training.

The training was very well received and more people showed a strong interest in participating, so that the training could successfully take place with 24 trainees instead of the planned 20 participants. During the very intensive training, our assigned electrical engineer Almotaz Al-Shawabkeh was supported by the trainer Lemu and the installer Esrael Asmare. The training took place as planned with the supplied modules and tools over the following 5 days. The solar modules equipped with inverters and batteries were partly installed during the same period, so that the trainees could already gain practical experience in handling the installed modules and take first measurements.

Some of the trainees spoke little or no English, so it was necessary to use an interpreter who could translate simultaneously into the two local Ethiopian languages, Oromo and Amharic. Five of the trainees who excelled in careful handling and strong commitment during the training were awarded a certificate of successful participation in the training workshop. This certificate should help them to be integrated into the working world more quickly in the future. The trainees, as well as other members of the community, were then invited to participate in the final discussion, as well as the project summary and the closing evening. In this way, we were able to come a good deal closer to the main goal of strengthening the educational potential of orphans and young people, as well as improving their chances on the labour market in the renewable energy sector.

Almotaz gives training to Ethiopian technicians to create a multiplier effect and make them competitive for the local labour market

Training promotes cultural exchange

The training measures were supported by financial means of the Staatskanzlei