News Commentary: Training Crisis-Affected Youths in Solar Energy for Sustainable Development

In an effort to address both energy needs and economic challenges in the crisis-affected North West and South West regions, the Community Action for Advancing Sustainable Development (CAASDEV) has launched "Solar Bright Future," which is a  project aimed at training 50 young individuals in solar energy. This initiative targets displaced youths and members of host communities in the Mezam division of Cameroon's North West region, equipping them with essential skills in solar energy design, installation, and maintenance.

Inaugurated on May 30, 2024, in Bamenda, with representatives from partner organizations, government institutions, and beneficiaries in attendance. Marius Kongsoh, the Project Coordinator, emphasized the comprehensive nature of the training. He highlighted the project’s goal of not only providing training but also establishing connections with solar companies, civil organizations, and government institutions involved in solar energy programs, thereby ensuring a smooth transition from training to employment.

The initiative is particularly timely given the urgent need for sustainable energy solutions in crisis-hit and off-grid areas. By empowering youths with practical skills in solar energy, CAASDEV aims to foster economic self-reliance and promote green energy adoption, addressing immediate energy needs while contributing to long-term community resilience and development.
Solar energy has become a crucial element in the global energy landscape, offering a clean, reliable, and increasingly cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. Countries like Germany, China, and India have made significant advancements in harnessing solar power, with large-scale solar farms and extensive rooftop installations transforming their energy sectors. In Africa, nations such as Kenya and South Africa are leading the way, utilizing solar energy to power remote villages and urban centers.
These global examples demonstrate the potential of solar energy to drive sustainable development. In Kenya, off-grid solar solutions have electrified rural areas, enhancing healthcare, education, and economic activities. South Africa’s extensive solar farms contribute significantly to the national grid, reducing reliance on coal and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Training youths in solar energy is a strategic investment in the future. By acquiring skills in a growing industry, young people can secure stable employment or start their own businesses, lifting themselves and their communities out of poverty. Solar energy is a cornerstone of sustainable development, and training youths in this field promotes the use of renewable energy sources, reducing dependence on environmentally harmful fossil fuels. Many crisis-affected and remote areas lack access to reliable electricity; trained youths can help bridge this gap by designing and installing solar energy systems, providing much-needed power for homes, schools, and health facilities. Solar energy can also play a crucial role in rebuilding communities affected by crises, and having skilled individuals within the community accelerates the process of recovery and development as promoting solar energy helps combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions, and training young people to be advocates and practitioners of green energy is vital for ensuring a sustainable future.
The "Solar Bright Future" project, running from April to November 2024, is more than a training program; it is a pointer of hope for the crisis-affected youths of Mezam. By partnering with organizations such as the College of Technology of the University of Bamenda, Green Tech Engineering Services, and Sustainable Solutions for Community Development, CAASDEV ensures that the training is comprehensive and aligned with industry standards.

Tombi Stanley, Coordinator of the North West Development Organizations (NWADO), underscored the project’s significance, noting the potential for solar energy to provide for the poor masses in off-grid areas. Sponsored by the Islamic Development Bank through the International Labour Organization, this initiative exemplifies how targeted interventions can yield far-reaching benefits. 

By Bakah Derick 
Tel: 6 94 71 85 77 

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