The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on Saturday, March 12 carried out needs assessment, sensitization on productive use of solar minigrid electricity in Rivers state.

The event took place at Egbeke community town hall in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State with the chiefs, youths, women and girls in attendance. The program targets to create awareness to the community people on ways of maximizing and making productive use of the constant electricity provided in the community through solar minigrid for self-empowerment through economic and entrepreneurial activities.

(Executive Director of YEAC, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface)

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of YEAC, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface said “Advocacy Centre was in your community on 22nd October 2021 to see the first solar minigrid project in Nigeria which is said to have been built here. On arrival at your community, I observed that economic and entrepreneurial activities were not going on in the community as expected of a place where there is constant electricity from the minigrid. Thus, on return to the office in Port Harcourt, we started thinking of why the facility is not contributing to local economic activities and we quickly concluded that it could be as a result of lack of funds to establish and expand existing business and use the electricity to power. Thus, this visit and town hall meeting is to sensitize you and assess your needs with a view of the funds you might need in terms of soft and revolving loans to either expand existing business or establish new one to empower yourselves. The report of this meeting would be used to discuss with our local and international partners with a view of raising funds to support you to put the solar electricity in your community into productive use”.

(Chief Stephen Ukaegbu)

The community through Chief Stephen Ukaegbu welcomed and thanked Advocacy Centre for selecting Egbeke community for the project out of a long list of others. Adding that the women and youths of the community which many were absent due to the market day would embrace the initiative and empower themselves through the project.

(Desire Prince, Youth President)

The Youth President, Desire Prince expressed happiness over the coming of YEAC for the needs assessment and sensitization. he further said the youths of the community recently has a meeting and resolved to work with a nongovernmental organization to find solution to some of the challenges facing the community and that beyond the current purpose of coming, the youths would reach out to YEAC for further partnership.

(Mr. Chinedu Ukaegbu)

Also speaking, Mr. Chinedu Ukaegbu said appliances with lower voltage should be provided for purchase in the community as part of the business that would help them maximize their solar units when they buy.

As a nonprofit, Advocacy Centre will work with local and international development partners to support Egbeke and other communities in the Niger Delta to find solution to the problems facing the people with a view of addressing local priorities, raising community profile and empowering the people.