YOLK is at the fore of solar power for education in Africa

By 5 May 2022 No Comments
Solar Cow

Solar Cow is a solar-powered charging station installed in schools in off-grid areas in Africa. It charges portable batteries, namely Solar Milks, throughout the school day and when school finishes, each child is given a Solar Milk to take home. Families can use the Solar Milk battery to charge cell phones and other electronic devices, while also lighting up the house using the lamp attached to the battery. This creates an immediate benefit for parents to send children to school, solving not only the issue of school attendance in rural communities but also providing power to these groups.

YOLK came up with the idea that by rewarding parents with electricity that saves them time and money, parents would send their children to school. This thought was proven right as YOLK saw real impact and change in the lives of the children. In the case of one school in Tanzania, not only did the attendance rate increase by 11.4% in the first year, but there was also an increase in studying hours at home and self-efficacy, as children felt proud of bringing power to their homes. So far, the direct student beneficiaries are around 5,000 children and 25,000 people including family members.

In 2020, when confronted with the reality of school closure due to COVID19, the YOLK team equipped the Solar Cow device with new functions including radio and MP3 so that children could take classes at home. This has become increasingly important in areas such as refugee camps where power is not always available, and radio becomes an important means of communication and education.

Through looking at multiple issues through a single lens, it becomes clear that development challenges can be met with innovation. By combining the issue of education with that of off-grid power in rural Africa, the YOLK team have designed a solution that is both scalable and beneficial to different groups in underprivileged communities.

The Solar Cow project has received worldwide attention for its innovative solution. It was selected by TIMES as one of the 100 best innovations of 2019, the winner of the Aid Innovation Challenge 2018, the top 3 position at the Green Awards, and two-time winner of the CES innovation awards. YOLK was also the only Korean company to win a partnership project at the 2021 P4G summit.

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