Providing services to rural communities, like Yoma Micro Power does for electricity, is inherently challenging given the often remote location of these communities. Before building a community mini-grid, Yoma Micro Power will visit the village and explain our electricity services to understand if the village is interested. While the communities are often far from regional towns, the villages are almost always accessible by car. However, on certain occasions, especially when it rains, the roads become too muddy to drive.
One particular visit, after some rain, the road became impassable.
We called ahead to the village to report our challenge, and they offered to meet us half-way to help us reach the village. So, we set off on foot.
The village head himself had come to meet us. They walked us to the edge of a river that separated us from the village.
As it had been raining recently, the river level was quite high and was impassible by car or motorbike. The picture shows, however, that the river could be crossed on foot. After a few minutes of deliberation, we decided to follow our guides and cross the river to the village.
After crossing the river, the village head had motorbikes waiting to take us to the village.
The villagers were very happy to see us. Many of the villages that YMP engages have limited road access that may vary depending upon the rain. Some villages are cut off from all road access during the rainy season. Seeing the determination that the YMP team showed in reaching the village helped to demonstrate to the community YMP commitment to powering the village.
After a successful meeting where we explained our electricity service, got back on the motorbikes to take us to the river’s edge. Unfortunately, it had started raining again, so the village lent us rain jackets to reach the river. After crossing the river, the village head said goodbye to us, and we walked the rest of the way back to the car trying not to get any wetter than we already were.
Not all village visits involve this much adventure, but each visit presents its own challenges. By leveraging technologies like remote monitoring of energy usage, mobile payments, and decentralized solar power, Yoma Micro Power is able to overcome the remoteness of these communities to deliver electricity services at an affordable cost.
- Dustin Zubke