Bringing light to communities in Sarangani
Yunie Kusin Labi’s dream is for families in their village to light up their homes.
As the barangay captain of Upo in the municipality of Maitum, Sarangani, Labi has seen his community suffer from lack of electricity.
“Sa siyam na sitio sa Brgy Upo, tatlo lang ang may access sa kuryente,” Labi said.
From behind his face mask, he could not help but smile at the sight of boxes of photovoltaic mainstreaming or solar home system (SHS) units arriving in their village last July, a realization of years of dreaming for electrification in their community. Around 1,050 households in Maitum are expected to be illuminated by this project.
“Napakalaking blessing nito sa amin. First time nila na magka-ilaw kaya malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa proyekto na ito,” he shared.
The lighting units delivered to Barangay Upo is part of the Strengthening Off-grid Lighting with Appropriate Renewable Energy Solutions or SOLARES project, an electrification and livelihood project by Mahintana Foundation, in partnership with Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), the European Union, together with two electric cooperatives, Department of Energy and local governments in Region XII.
Electrifying an electricity-deprived populace
SOLARES is looking to provide energy access to 6,000 off-grid households from 50 barangays in seven municipalities in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani through provision and installation of solar home units consisting of the system box, solar panel, and accessories such as torch, radio, and bulbs .
For its part, PEF has already released P22 million for the livelihood component of SOLARES with the help of six microfinance institutions and cooperatives from the two provinces.
In 2020, PEF provided working capital, consolidation, and marketing support to coffee farmers in Lebak and Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat as well as pandemic recovery loans for communities affected by the COVID-19 in Sarangani.
Photo from: SOLARES website