Botswana Guardian

Chedza solar backpacks for learning

Young entreprene­ur donates solar backpacks to learners

- Keletso Thobega

Kedumetse Liphi of KediLipi Electrical and Electronic­s - a homegrown company, believes that innovation should be used to find solutions to pressing challenges in communitie­s. The company recently donated newly launched, Chedza Solar backpack to some learners of Senete Primary School in Senete in the Central district.

The innovative young Motswana was this year among the youth selected for the prestigiou­s Africa Forbes 30 Under 30 - a platform that celebrates young people under the age of 30, who are making strides in the business and entreprene­urship landscape.

Liphi indicated that the mandate they had set out through the rolling out of the solar backpack, is to bring hope to learners in rural communitie­s, some who have to work extra hard to get an education under sometimes deplorable conditions such as poverty, and no access to basic resources that could help them in their education process.

He noted that learners in rural villages, particular­ly those from areas that are not electrifie­d is too expensive for household domestic use and therefore still a luxury; they even struggle to do their homework in the evening after completing their home chores because it would be too dark for them to see.

He explained that the bag charges during the day using the sun rays and stores the power, and then in the evening uses the LED light attached in the bag to light up. “The strong light makes it easier for the learners to do their homework.” Besides that, the bags are a little treasure for learners whose families cannot even afford to buy them a quality school bag.

The bags are made of canvass material that is waterproof and durable, and features solar panels, LED light and a USB- charging portal.

Liphi noted that such an innovation is in line with the United Nations Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goal 7 and African Solar Industry Associatio­n goals to: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainabl­e energy for all.” He noted that it was vital to take advantage of Botswana’s abundant solar as the country goes through an energy transition and also makes efforts towards mitigating the impact of climate change by switching to cleaner, greener energy sources.

Liphi has gone back to his roots and given back to his community of Senete because he understand­s the challenges of young people growing up in poverty stricken rural areas, with education being their only ticket out of poverty. The innovative and enterprisi­ng lad who hails from Senete, born in Tutume and raised in Gaborone, noticed a few years ago that innovation plays a key role in finding solutions to key pressing issues in African communitie­s.

Donations of the solar backpacks will also be carried out in other rural areas such as Tshono, Mkhombo and Sverelela, among others.

Liphi said Government and other stakeholde­rs should play a key role in investing in innovative talent. “Stakeholde­rs should invest in creativity and innovation because apart from giving solutions to every day challenges in our lives, innovation is a key contributo­r to economic growth,” he explained.

The Chedza Solar backpack is available commercial­ly. Liphi noted that he dreams of taking on the global market, expressing confidence that young Batswana have what it takes to make global strides with their creations and talent.

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