The solar cow that powered an African village

(Eco Business, 27 Feb 2019) Yolk Station, a South Korean solar energy company, has installed a renewable energy solution in a remote Kenyan town that can also tackle the problem of child labour.

What would it take for parents in poor areas to allow their children to go to school instead of sending them to work?

A South Korean solar energy company has installed a solar-powered charging station in a steel frame of a cow, inside a school in Pokot, Kenya for a pilot project that gives parents free electricity as an incentive for allowing their children to go school. 

Over 150 million children around the world are forced into labour, more than half of which are from Africa, according to the International Labour Organization. Income from a child’s work is believed by some parents in developing countries to be crucial for the survival of their household. Most children work in fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture, while the rest work in quarrying and mining.

Yolk Station, through its Solar Cow project, has distributed power banks, or detachable portable batteries called “Power Milk” to the children in Chemoril primary school.

When students arrive for school, they plug the power banks into the solar-station cow. Solar energy is used to charge the students’ batteries, which are designed to look like udders hanging off the underside of a makeshift cow.

The Power Milk batteries charge while they are in class and then they take the batteries home when they leave for the day. Each power bank can store up to 10 watts of electricity. 

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Eco Business, 27 Feb 2019: The solar cow that powered an African village