ABU HASHEEM, Feb. 8, 2011 -- In Sudan’s south-eastern state of Blue Nile, the streets of Abu Hasheem village are silent, as if abandoned. However, a burst of life comes from scattered street lights, the village health center, and the local secondary school.
With help from the Sudan Multi Donor Trust Fund-National (MDTF-N), this tiny village of 5,500 now uses solar energy to power its lights. Before being targeted by MDTF-N’s Community Development Fund (CDF) Project in 2007, the village was living in virtual darkness, with no source of electricity apart from a few small generators that benefit only their owners. As a result, the population relied on wood as a source of energy, putting stress on the environment of surrounding areas.
In 2007, barely half of the students in the village’s primary school attained passing grades on their exams. Just two years later, the student pass rate reached a full 100 percent and was maintained last year.
A recent three-day mission, headed by World Bank Acting Director for Sudan and Manager of the Africa Fragile States Unit Ian Bannon, along with World Bank Sudan Country Manager Alassane Sow, visited Abu Hasheem to observe first hand the impact that solar energy is having on education, health and broader development.
Energy and education
The introduction of solar energy has had a profound effect on the quality of education and learning for the children of Abu Hasheem.
“Night classes were introduced for the first time in the village; students are now able to do their homework and move easily to and from school [at night],” said Abdulhameed M. Saeid, principal of the Salman Alfaresy School for Boys. “Teachers have also benefited, as they have a better residential environment and can better prepare for the next day’s lessons.”
He playfully added, “We boast of our academic achievements in front of our colleagues of various schools during our meetings at the state level.”
And boast he should. This table shows the increase in pass rates and grade percentage averages at Salman Alfaresy School for Boys since the start of the Solar Lighting project in the village.