One of the biggest problems facing developing countries today is the deterioration of natural resources, as well as a lack of renewable ones. As natural resources continue to be consumed at an alarming rate, the need for alternative forms of energy is becoming more and more predominant. It is widely believed that solar energy is one of the greatest, and underutilized, forms of renewable energy available today.
Alternative energy programs exist at many levels in developing countries, but they are least prevalent in rural village areas of the Third World. Solar energy is abundant in many parts of the developing world, especially in Africa, and these four simple types of devices could easily be incorporated into village life: ovens, stills, boxes and puddles. Rather than tackling the high technology of photovoltaics, which requires extensive initial capital rarely available to the average villager, there are a number of ways that simple solar technologies can be used at little expense to local villagers, and with extremely effective results.
The extreme rate of deforestation occurring in many countries in Africa, along with soil erosion and an increasing rate of respiratory infection caused by cooking with wood, is reason enough to be concerned about an alternative to using wood for fuel. There is such an incidence of parasites in the water in most rural areas that there never seem to be enough methods of providing clean and healthy water systems. Devices such as solar ovens, solar stills and puddles, solar water pasteurizers and food dryers are all excellent forms of low cost, highly effective energy production.
Women are of primary concern in this study, since they are those who are responsible for most of the tasks involved in dealing with such devices. A significant portion of this paper will concern women in the village regions of Africa and will elaborate on why they are a crucial component to the success of rural solar energy projects.
The goal of this project is to provide a feasible rationale as to why these types of alternative solar energy projects would or wouldn’t be successful in a rural village in Africa, and to justify these findings in terms of sustainability and cultural awareness.