World changers bring solar power initiative to Malawi
University of Glasgow Dean of Global Engagement (Africa & Middle East) Professor Paul Garside has won a prestigious Scottish Funding Council, Global Challenges Research Fund award to install a groundbreaking solar energy system to the Blantyre Blantyre Research facility, which is housed within the College of Medicine (COM) University of Malawi.
The facility, funded by the Scottish Government International Development Department is a state-of-the-art laboratory that boasts cutting edge microscopy, diagnostic, and cryo freezing storage facilities. This exciting initiative is particularly special as Professor Garside and Dr Mwapatsa Mipando, immediate past principal of COM has teamed up with Ms Eunice Ntobedzi who is a University of Glasgow MSc graduate, and the University of Glasgow 2019 winner of the World Changing Alumni Award.
Ms Ntobedzi is CEO of Africa Sun Energy Ltd who are based in Botswana and aim to bring inexpensive solar power to more than 660 million Africans who are currently without access to electricity. Ms Ntobedzi as well as installing the new solar power system to the Malawi lab, will roll out solar power installation training and education in Malawi. The project will act as an exemplar for further clean energy solutions for COM and for the wider Malawian community.
Professor Garside said: "This is absolutely fantastic to see one of our world changing alumni from Botswana helping to deliver clean energy and expertise to an important new clinical research facility developed with our partners at College of Medicine in Malawi. A real example of south-south collaboration."
Eunice Ntobedzi said: "Christmas has come early – This funding has come at a crucial time for the health sector in Southern Africa where, unfortunately still, many health facilities do not have access to reliable and affordable clean energy to enable them to maintain basic services. This is even more significant as the possible vaccine required for the treatment of COVID-19 will require a level of temperature control to maintain their efficacy. This project at the College of Medicine will be a demonstration of a new clean energy service which addresses the needs of health facilities, not only in Malawi but in the entire region as well. Furthermore, we are planning to have the project completed by the end of February 2021 and have started to ensure that we do everything necessary to ensure the success of this project."
Dr Mwapatsa Mipando said: "I am so excited to see that our Blantyre Blantyre Research Facility will utilize clean energy and thereby be an exemplar in our country and the region. This project is a giant step in our quest to become an environmentally friendly campus. We look forward to working with our colleagues from Scotland and Botswana."
Eunice Ntobedzi, Mwapatsa Mipando and Paul Garside
First published: 13 January 2021