Welcome back to Kushea!
Goal Zero was created from a need observed by TIFIE Humanitarian. The need for reliable, renewable, clean power has shackled global development for too long. Born to serve this purpose, Goal Zero has intertwined its fate with TIFIE for the long run. In 2015, we decided to send a team of passionate employees to help solar power a newly built computer lab in Kushea, Ghana. In 2016, our friends at TIFIE returned to deliver power and lights to local schools, clinics, and businesses in the area. This project has seen test scores rise, illnesses decrease, and has set new standards and expectations for all future Kusheans.
This village hidden in the jungles of the Central Region has quickly found its way into the hearts of those who venture there. Ghana as a whole is a stable, blossoming country whose people are yearning for the opportunities of a fully developed and industrialized nation. Despite the will of the people, Ghana currently lacks the power production to fully service them. Those who are lucky enough to get grid power, are only lucky enough to get it, at best, for 12 hours of each day. This makes refrigeration useless. It prevents medication from being kept locally, severely delaying proper treatment. The few generators see more use and need more replacement than most budgets allow. This is so within Kushea.
Making good on a promise forged in 2015, Goal Zero finds itself once again heading to Kushea in 2017, round 3. Our NRG/Goal Zero team joined Robert and Ange Workman, representing TIFIE, to help monitor the implementation of this new phase of the program, 100 Yeti 400 systems (40KW of batteries, 9KW of solar), a few 1250, and a pile of flashlights. Nana Prah, king of the region, acted as a gracious host as we stayed in his palace for the duration of our stay. His kindness to us and his community proves his dedication to his mission, to “brighten his corner of the world”.
In late May, we decided to light a few schools that desperately need it, power a new maternity ward on the clinic grounds, and sell the remaining donated kits for individual homes and businesses at a nice discount. All sales would then go to community improvements and public services. TIFIE’s previous round under this model has generated enough revenue to help fund a new road that allows safer travel on foot and greater access to the main road for trade. The difference is stark and the benefits are obvious.
Three schools received power. We lit hallways and classrooms, improving security and education for 100’s of children. One school in Ninjeso was run down, the rusty roof barely protected from the rain. TIFIE and Goal Zero founder Mr. Robert Workman gladly donated a new roof for the school so the solar could be safely mounted. His passion and care for a brighter tomorrow are truly inspiring! Thank you Mr. Workman.
Dave the Goat was gifted to our team for the Ninjeso install… he did not make the return flight…
The local high school down the road is a large complex. Only the top 20% of students academically can attend due to resources, if they can afford it. We decided to focus a 3 fold attack: 1) the clinic, 2) 6 classrooms in the middle of campus, and 3) the girl’s dorm. Keeping the girls safe during a blackout is a priority, so we lit both hallways around access points and Torch lights in the rooms. The girls seemed excited to get the lights. The install went long and as energy waned and the sun lowered its gaze, a glorious moment overtook the team. Without notice, the girls began singing their school’s anthem. The white noise of multiple conversations, hammering, and unpacking, faded as if turned down by a remote. This choir of appreciation took our attention and one by one each of us stopped what we were doing to take in the moment. It was wonderful! Kushea just got a little smarter.
After the recently built birthing center was painted, lit, and solar powered, we dedicated the new “Ange Workman Maternity Ward”. Local mothers showed great appreciation for our efforts, which was deflected to our hard working install team. Eight young men from the area were beaming with pride as they knew that their sweat had direct impact on the well-being of the entire community. Emotion ran high as Mrs. Workman herself was there to provide the gift of one mother’s love to a whole community. A very touching moment was had by all. Kushea just got a little healthier.
The flashlights were distributed to dorm rooms for kids at night and to smaller villages that we were unable to service with larger systems. We have received word that “reptile attacks” were less of a concern at night because of these lights. Kushea and its neighbors just got a little safer.
The impact of returning to a single location to grow and improve a program are evident. Follow-up allows improvement, and consistency breeds trust. Kushea trusts Goal Zero because we have returned to troubleshoot issues and train locals, to bring light to the darkness. At Goal Zero, we trust Kushea because the community, especially the leaders, truly want growth and prosperity for all of the people. Unlike many areas where donations quickly get repurposed or sold to benefit a select few, returning to Kushea allows us to verify that ALL of our previously installed systems were exactly as we left them. This trust is key, from both sides.
This experience in Ghana has once again allowed a few employees to understand the true meaning of Goal Zero. These trips are a binding agent not just within the company, but globally, and help level the playing field for the 1/3 of the world that is being left in darkness. We make the world a smaller place with a better future. Goal Zero will help many students make it to high school, and Goal Zero will safely birth the next generation of Kusheans. We CAN be the difference. The products we offer have purpose, and we endeavor to honor this purpose.