In Papua, a good and uninterrupted power supply is not a given fact like in the Netherlands. If there is electricity at all, it often remains to be seen how long the light stays on and the refrigerators can continue to work. The need for electricity is higher than the supply. Large companies and hotels therefore have emergency generators on standby, which usually run on diesel.
Today, the situation in remote areas in Papua can be compared to that of the 19th century Netherlands. That is to say there is no electricity and running water. More than 22% of the nearly 3 million Papuans live completely or almost entirely without this facility. These people live by candlelight or use kerosene lamps. Not only is it bad for your health, but also the risk of fire is high in the dry, wooden huts, the so-called honais. People die regularly, or serious burns are sustained.
Good interior lighting would be an unprecedented convenience for thousands of Papuan families and would make life considerably more pleasant. Also consider education and health care. For well-functioning health care, connection to the electricity grid is a basic need for e.g. electronic keeping of medical data and refrigerated storage of medicines. Good lighting is a prerequisite for performing simple medical procedures. But also for education in Papua there is need for a sustainable and undisturbed power supply. A few years ago, Hapin helped a school in the Kampong Muliama, in the Baliem Valley, to purchase and install solar panels. Thanks to this facility, teachers and pupils can use their computers unhindered throughout the day and lessons can also be given in the evenings.
Hapin recently received another request to assist with the purchase and installation of solar panels. This time it concerns a number of villages in the districts of Arso and Waris in the far northwest of Papua, on the border with Papua New Guinea. There is hardly any electricity in these areas. The lack of this facility promotes deforestation: people need the wood to cook their pots and also use it to spread light. In the village of Yetti, the first solar lights will soon be lit up as an experiment in the evening. The early evening hours can then be used by the teachers to prepare the lessons and by the students to do their homework. The purchase and installation of these solar panels costs more than 2,000 euros.