Solar Mtaani Graduation Day with WREPA
Written by Mark and Paul Okondo
In December, a meeting was held at Lower Kabete rehabilitation centre from 10am to 1pm. In attendance was the WREPA global advisor and Researcher Hendrica Okondo and Rita
Mkamala, CEO and founder of Solar Mtaani, and the Children's Officer Stanley Rotich. Also in attendace were the Solar mtaani graduates who were done with the first phase of their 7 month course.
We as WREPA young researchers, got to interview two of the top graduates Ken Mugaisi (far
left) and Simon Njenga(third from left). Ken Mugaisi just recently completed his highschool
education and got interested in the solar mtaani project. So he joined the programme and
developed a keen interest in solar technology. He was quite enthusiastic and wanted to
continue with the program on the basis of promoting clean energy sources to remote areas. He urges that , with a 25 year warranty. The solar panels are worth investing in.
Simon Njenga completed his highschool education in 2017, he persued mechanical engineering during his college education and completed in 2019. Early 2022, he caught wind of the Solar Mtaani programme and immediately enrolled as it is a field familiar to him. He immediately loved the initiative and this led to his switch in interest. He is more inclined towards solar technology and its use in the current world. He highly recommends it since our country Kenya is at the equator which means greater exposure to sunlight over long periods.
We got to understand how the programme works... there are 3 phases (T1, T2 and T3 "T"stands for tier). T1, mainly involves off grid power systems and supply like solar panels. It is a 7 month course. T2, involves grid type electricity generating systems it is a 4 month course .T3, involves hybrid electricity generating systems. All the three Tiers are a 1 unit course and involve the practical and theoretical aspect, practicals bearing most marks. Other additional lessons are granted during the 7 month course like Entrepreneurship, PRA, ICT and Life skills which help form the student for the future.
NITA (National Industrial Training Authority) acted as their examination council and assessed
them in their final test. The National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) is a state corporation established under the Industrial Training (Amendment) Act of 2011. Its mandate is to promote the highest standards in the quality and efficiency of Industrial Training in Kenya and ensure an adequate supply of properly trained manpower at all levels in the industry.
On average, a 60%+ indicates a pass in the solar programme which was attained by all graduates. The graduates comprised of 13 external students and 15 internal students. A total of 28 students. The external students were female students among whom were 8 in number. Internal students are the juveniles under rehabilitation hence being only male students. The 8 ladies give a voice to those who were unfamiliar with the industry and were seeking to be independent. Moreover, the top student was female. What could be more encouraging than that?
The Solar Mtaani Organisation will also set up internships for the graduates and learners
through various companies like d-light which increases their chances in the job market, giving them hope at a brighter future with promise.
This partnership will change societal narratives concerning women being financially dependent on their spouses by introducing solar learning for women as a means to equip them with skills which will enable them achieve financial independence mostly in remote areas... such an initiative will introduce formal and informal trainings on clean cooking for women using solar cookers, solar ovens, solar dryers, and solar suitcases for kiosks. At the end of the training, these women will be able to be engaged in solar businesses, baking and drying their farm produce for preservation.