Village life in Northern Nigeria
In the desert grasslands of Northern Nigeria, village life has changed little over the centuries. Many people still live in houses constructed of mud and thatch, use donkeys or cattle-drawn carts for transportation and scratch out a subsistence living by growing their crops in the harsh conditions found just south of the Sahara Desert. Cooking is done over wood fires and kerosene lamps provide meager lighting that produce toxic fumes and the danger of fire. Public education is not free and is therefore limited, as are the opportunities for employment. In most villages, water of questionable quality is either pulled from an open well by rope or brought to the surface with hand pumps.Village women must walk miles to the nearest water source. Rural areas in Northern Nigeria lack the modern energy sources needed for improvements in health, education, transportation and commercial development. Outside of major cities and towns, there has been very little electrification in this region and what supply there is, is often unreliable. In contrast, Nigeria has an abundance of petroleum-based energy resources and in fact is the sixth largest supplier of oil to the U.S. Unfortunately, very little revenue from the sale of this resource filters down to help the rural population. With the intention of addressing the unavailability of energy in villages, SELF Executive Director Robert Freling and Jigawa State Governor Ibrahim Siminu Turaki began a dialog in 2001 concerning the possibility of using solar–electricity (photovoltaic or PV) to power essential services in the far-flung villages of Jigawa State.
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