From Issue 4: An Interview with Sinclair Skinner
This interview with Sinclair was originally distributed via StartJOIN’s bi-monthly newsletter #4. You can subscribe viahttp://eepurl.com/bWjFzz
*BitMari has entered beta phase since its first crowdfunding campaign on StartJOIN.
Sinclair, tell us, what’s the latest…
Meet Patricia N. Ndebele! She is the Founder and CEO of Ilanga Solutions. A graduate in Electrical Power Engineering from the University of Namibia, she is a dedicated sustainable energy promoter and registered member of the Engineering Council of Namibia. Patricia’s area of specialty is power systems design, electrical reticulation design and photovoltaic solar systems.
Ilanga Solutions primarily focuses on developing optimised solar energy solutions, and adapt them to rural, urban, institutional, governmental and commercial settings. These solar energy solutions will all be designed with conscious, sustainable development in mind. The company’s ultimate goal is the construction of solar plants that feed into the national grid.
Right now, we are working together on a project to promote solar home systems and water pumps — and we are looking to crowdfunding our first two designs and installations via StartJOIN.com!
This sounds like pretty hi-tech stuff, break it down for us…
This project will involve the design and installation of DC Solar pump systems in two selected farms in Zimbabwe.The installation of the system will be led and managed by Patricia, with the aid of two extra solar solution installers.
So far, the designs are ready to be implemented, and the two selected farms are being measured and prepped for installation. The systems tackles the lack of consistent rain water for irrigation by utilising the substantial ground water that Zimbabwe has.
Additionally, Agribank, a local agricultural bank, is helping the project by donating field consultants to help farmers prepare information for the engineer and will help with the labour to install and maintain the systems.
So far, we have covered the designs, implementation and maintenance operations, located the equipment (by Solar Age Namibia), and gathered a team of volunteers. Now that all the components are prepared, we are working on raising the necessary funding to cover the costs.
I understand that this is very much a local project — using as much local talent, designs, volunteers and resources as possible, for the benefit of local agricultural farms…
Yes, we are also working with Women Farmers, Land and Agriculture Trust (WFLA), led by Phides Mazhawidza.
WFLA Trust is a not-for-profit membership organisation, whose main objective is to facilitate for women farmers to fully utilize land, through access to farming resources and market linkages. The organisation has a membership of over fifteen thousand women farmers, with over 50% of these women owning the land in their own right. These farmers are largely involved with producing grain (maize, wheat, soya beans), horticulture, animal husbandry and poultry.
The two selected farms for prototype installations are active members of our association and great farmers. They are Ellah M’baiwa of Nyabira in Mashonaland West Province and Alice Masuka of Gweru-Midlands Province.
Sounds like a great project -
This project has long term ambitions — we aim to develop a mobile solar pump system that can service multiple farms with ground experience.
It also reflects diverse efforts and ambition coming together. Improving the production process of agriculture, it supports domestic farmers by arming them against an unfavourable export market, it encourages local farmers and talents to participate in social changes for a better future in energy, as well as empowering women farmers.
Sinclair is currently working on preparations for the upcoming crowdfunding project on StartJOIN — any suggestions and questions welcome — please contact Sinclair via his StartJOIN profile or via Twitter @SkinnerLiber8ed.