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Solar Power & Rural Development
©1999 Kathy Dickerson Agua Zarca women travel about two miles (3 km) roundtrip on the main road to fetch water.
Hurricane Mitch hit hard in the town of Agua Zarca in rural Nicaragua. It
destroyed the crops which most people depend on for food and income. But in a country that continuously moves from crisis to crisis, Hurricane Mitch was not able to break the spirit that enables the people to endure hardship.
Following the hurricane, Agency for Environmental Health (AEH) installed a solar electric system in a health clinic in Agua Zarca. This clinic is the primary health center for not only the 150 families that live in the town, but also for twelve nearby communities.
Agua Zarca and surrounding villages are remote and do not have access to electricity. The solar electric system will improve health services by providing lights, vaccine refrigeration, and radio communication.
Agency for Environmental Health (AEH) is a non-profit organization that I founded in 1998 to improve human and environmental health in developing countries. This followed two years as a Peace Corps business volunteer in Nicaragua, and a summer of workshops in
solar, wind, and water power at Solar Energy International.
By updating health clinics with renewable energy (RE) technology, AEH helps to stop the vicious cycle of poverty, environmental degradation, and human sickness. It enables us to serve the most needy—those in rural communities. The solar electric system improves the services offered by the clinic and serves as a daily symbol and reminder of the sun’s power. As this project succeeds, so does the notion that RE can be used for other community-enhancing projects.
Life in Rural Nicaragua
In my leisure time as a Peace Corps volunteer, I would hike through the mountains of Nicaragua. On these
in Nicaragua Kathy Dickerson
34 Home Power #74 • December 1999 / January 2000
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