WINDS OF CHANGE
Since inception Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) has been keen on ensuring that the community benefits from the project. As part of this commitment LTWP established Winds of Change Foundation (WoC). LTWP has committed to invest a portion of its operating revenues to WoC to improve the livelihoods of the communities in the Project area. Once the wind farm is operational, it is expected that LTWP through WoC will contribute about Euro 10 Million over the operational life of the Project (20 years).
WoC implements projects in the Laisamis constituency in Marsabit County. The WoC focus areas are:
- Enhancing employability through primary/ secondary education support and vocational training support;
- Enhancing access to health services by supporting health education and facilities and; and,
- Providing water, specifically for the health and employability initiatives to provide a sustainable impact and improve livelihoods. In the medium term this focus will shift to emphasize livelihoods activities.
WoC works in partnership with the county government, local leaders, NGO’s, CBO’s and government departments in implementing negotiated activities to ensure optimal stakeholder engagement, participation and ownership. WoC aims to catalyze positive sustainable development to enhance livelihoods in the areas surrounding the wind farm. It is anticipated that the planned social investment activities will enable LTWP and its project partners; Vestas, Siemens, SECO and Civicon to become trusted partners in development with the local community around the wind farm and the larger Laisamis constituency.
An interactive map illustrating the locations of key Winds of Change projects to date can be obtained HERE
This pillar focuses on access to education, improvement of education facilities and development of skills for the labour market. As an overview: Since June 2015, WoC has constructed school facilities (e.g. a laboratory at Nyiro Girls Secondary School and Korole Boys Secondary School, two classrooms at the new Loiyangalani Youth Polytechnic, extended the facilities of Sarima Primary School, and a dormitory at Nyiro Boys Secondary School); enhanced access to electricity by installing a solar system at Mt. Kulal Girls Secondary School; provided desks, books and pens to 25 primary schools in Laisamis Constituency; and, facilitated educational school trips to the wind farm and other parts of Kenya.
Moreover, together with Vestas, WoC has worked to establish an IT Center in Korr, where people can enroll for computer courses, and has provided training to 18 local solar technicians who obtained certification from the Energy Regulatory Commission.
WoC is in discussions with the Marsabit South Technical Institute to determine the nature and type of investments it can make to support development of vocational skills in Laisamis. This is expected to boost tertiary education as well as enhance future employability in the area. This project will be launched during the operational phase of the wind farm.
The expansive but sparsely populated project area, coupled with years of under-investment in the sector has resulted in limited access to health services by the local communities. WoC support to health focusses on enhancing access to health services by upgrading physical infrastructure and during operation of the windfarm, partnering with stakeholders to support targeted outreach programs.
WoC has supported the improvement of health facilities at Burri-Aramia dispensary (solar lighting, vaccine freezer, shelving for medical supplies and furniture including examination ward and delivery beds and patient toilets among other items.
WoC has also contracted a local organization – Community Empowerment Development Initiative Marsabit (CEDIM), to undertake HIV/AIDS and Road Safety sensitization campaigns. CEDIM has trained 17 Community Health Workers (CHWs) and attached them to existing government run health facilities to sensitize and educate the local population on matters around HIV/AIDS. In2015, WoC carried out a three-month HIV/AIDS awareness and testing campaign in around the wind farm site.
In future, WoC plans to support Marsabit County in the upgrading of facilities at Laisamis health centre and other health centres in the area.
Due to the arid nature of Marsabit, water is a scarce commodity. LTWP has spearheaded the rehabilitation/construction of several water boreholes and water supply points in, but not limited to, Arge, Laga el Fereji, Gatab, Ntil, Lonjorin, Larachi, Sarima, Illaut and Olturot. The project in Arge alone has led to approximately 3,000 people now being able to access water within their village rather than having to complete a daily roundtrip of 28km to obtain water.
WoC has also installed a solar powered reverse osmosis system in Sarima village, meaning that community members now, for the first time, have direct access to clean drinking water. In addition, WoC has built watering troughs in different parts of the constituency to ease provision of water to livestock.
During the recent drought period, WoC further intensified its water activities in Laisamis Constituency in order to support the communities through this difficult period.
WoC is also engaged in supporting local communities through miscellaneous activities, such as the construction of community storage facilities in Illaut and Sarima, and by enhancing inter-community relations through sports. In this regard, LTWP / WoC host an annual 10km race on the wind farm site and support local youth and school sports tournaments.
Though strictly speaking not a WoC activity, LTWP constructed a 208km road from Laisamis to Sarima, which has transformed the transportation network in the area. This has significantly increased access to markets as well as to health care and educational facilities for the local population.
Finally, the presence of the LTWP project, combined with the community engagement activities implemented by WoC, are often cited by local community members as having led to enhanced security and peace in the area.