A charity led by Israeli women and employing Israeli technologies has connected 104 villages across Africa to water and electricity.
Innovation Africa, the Israeli organization founded by Sivan Ya’ari, has sought to better the lives of rural villagers in Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and elsewhere by mining Israeli technological innovation for solutions that fit the needs of hard-to-reach places across the vast continent. Its work was highlighted in a report on Israel’s Channel 2 on Saturday night.
In places with no electrical power, and thus no means for refrigerating medicine or food, or for turning on the lights in schools, Ya’ari’s organization turned to the solar panels that are a ubiquitous feature of Israeli rooftops. These new sources of power also allow villagers to recharge cellular phones without traveling outside their villages to find a working plug, expanding their access to communications and the Internet, the TV report showed. Computers designed to be powered by solar power are being used as educational tools.
Israeli-made locks also help cut down on theft. Israeli drip irrigation systems are dramatically increasing the efficiency of agricultural water use, leading to cheaper and larger crop yields. And a manual pump that can purify water – even sewage – to make it drinkable without the use of electricity is making water safer.
Innovation Africa’s figures suggest its projects have improved living conditions for hundreds of thousands. In Malawi, 23 projects are helping 319,000, according to the group’s website; 360,000 Ugandans are impacted by 56 projects there; and 79,000 are impacted by 13 projects in Tanzania. The organization also runs projects in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal and Ethiopia.
IA claims it has brought lighting, clean water, food and better medical care to nearly 1 million people since it was established in 2008.
Ya’ari, who speaks French, first visited Africa while working for a multinational financial corporation.
“When I was in the villages for the first time and witnessed the poverty and the children, I always thought of myself as a child. And even though I didn’t have much – they have nothing at all,” Ya’ari told Channel 2 in the segment about her work aired Saturday evening.
Innovation Africa boasts a top leadership that is mostly women, including the group’s top six officers and eight of the 13 people featured on its website’s “About Us” page. It is also proud of its Israeli roots, boasting an Israeli flag prominently on its website with a page titled “Israel Connection.”