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    Africa Development

Helping Africa – The Smart Way

Posted: 2012-07-10
From: Mathaba
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Western aid does not reach individuals in Africa nor empower them to independence. This article suggests a way to help communities obtain their own electricity supply, and also how those in the west can save money and consumption by use of LED lighting.

Despite the fact that Africa is rich in natural resources with the ability to become a powerful world leader, there is a significant population of ‘underprivileged’ people and villages.

In the United States the words ‘poor’ or ‘underprivileged’ brings to mind families that only have one car, they cannot afford steak for dinner, or they live in somewhat sub-standard housing.

By contrast, the poor of Africa have no electricity, no vehicle, no clean water to drink and lack food security. Infants and children in areas of famine or instability die at an alarming rate from malnutrition and dehydration.

Such poor in Africa view the poor in the Western world as wealthy.

Even though the United States (and other countries) have sent billions of dollars in aid to Africa, the condition persists. Governments look at the ‘overall country’ needs, not the individual need.

What is the best way to to help African individuals and villages? Give Africans the tools needed, and any required training. The following are just two examples that could have a very large impact on the poor of Africa.

Electrical Supply
  • Village leaders within a ten-mile radius can be gathered together

  • The benefits of electricity and the use of solar power can be demonstrated

  • Training can be given on how to set up a solar powered station in their village

  • The required supplies can be donated to set up a solar station in each village

  • Each village leader would contact surrounding villages and enable them to do the teaching to this new group of villages.

Having (free) electrical capabilities will enable them to easily boil water so that it is fit for human consumption, in areas where the water is unsafe, provide lighting, perhaps have one air conditioned structure in the village where those who are ill can take respite to escape the unrelenting heat and sun.

In the west, children often get joy from seeing multi-colored led lights sparkling on pathways or in their homes. In the US, LED lighting is seen as a way to save money on lighting, but to African villagers it would provide a basic element to live a better life.


Water continues to be the number one issue for the outlying villages. The African climate is brutal; nothing can grow in the barren heat drenched soil without water. Neither people nor animals can survive without water.

Each such village requires a deep working well to supply water for the people, animals and crops needed to survive.

Each dwelling could grow one vegetable type to share with the other villagers. This will also ensure a variety of foods in the village.

Each village could be supplied with chickens, sheep or other animals so they will also have meat to eat and additional transport.

While these ideas will cost a lot of money to begin with, the cost will diminish over time to zero dollars. As the old adage says, ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat today, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime’.

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