Chris, a young barber, has a simple shop—a little shack with mirrors, two chairs, and a bench for waiting customers. Each day, his steady hand expertly uses bare razor blades to trim hair and beards. His flip phone always found in the pocket of his cool, ripped jeans.
Madeline, another entrepreneur, sells sweet frozen milk at the market. Every day, this determined woman walks at least 30 minutes to reach a facility to freeze her treats. She makes that journey again the next day to collect them, and walks another 30 minutes to the market to sell them.
Abdullah, recognizing that money can be made from passing cars, opened a tire repair shop on the main road. His business sign is a tire attached to a pole in front of his shop, used to attract the cars, trucks and motorbikes that pass his shop each day. He saved for a year to buy a generator and an air compressor.
Chris, Madeline and Abdullah live in Totota. With a population of approximately 6,400, Totota is a rural community located approximately 80 miles northeast of Monrovia. It is home to stores, workshops, restaurants, schools, clinics, churches, mosques and government offices. Despite the town’s status as a regional trading center, most households rely on dry cell batteries, lanterns and candles for illumination while a small number purchase electric service from individuals who own and operate small generators.
It will be at least ten years before the construction of Liberia’s national grid can reach Totota. To prevent economic stalemate for Totota’s residents, NRECA International has committed $400,000 to bring reliable and affordable electricity to this region, but we need the help of donors and supporters to make sure Totota’s residents can begin a new and modern way of life.
The total cost of the project is $600,000, and we need your help. Please consider making a cash contribution so that we can help the people of Totota. Donate online here, or send a check to: NRECA International, P.O. Box 75472, Baltimore, MD 21275-5472. All donations are tax deductible.
“We see the potential for this town to experience significant economic and social growth with the availability of reliable and affordable electricity,” said Dan Waddle, NRECA International senior vice president. “Our supporters and member co-ops here in the U.S. have always been dedicated and committed to rural electrification in communities that need help. I’m confident that they will continue to participate in this effort either with funds or volunteers.”
The NRECA International team is currently implementing several Beyond The Grid (BTG) projects in rural Liberia for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). BTG is part of the U.S. Government’s Power Africa initiative, with the goal to spur stability and economic development by delivering reliable, predominantly renewable electricity to Liberia’s rural towns.
For the Totota project, the NRECA International BTG team has designed a solar-diesel hybrid power distribution system that combines solar photovoltaic panels with a diesel generator to provide power at night. The solar-diesel hybrid power station will provide service to about 400 houses and businesses in Totota, and it will be owned and operated by a local electric cooperative.
When electricity comes, Chris wants to grow his business starting with buying an electric trimmer and he wants to be a leader for the youth in his community. Madeline wants to open an ice cream shop, so she can stay put, and Abdullah wants to start installing an outdoor light so he can extend his hours into the night when many trucks drive by after dark.
The children in this town will have better educational opportunities, and streetlights will illuminate the streets so residents can walk safely in between the houses, and on the busy main roads. Totota will begin to feel like a city, and be another stepping stone in Liberia’s rebuilding process.
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