A Small Island in the Indian Ocean Offers Big Lessons on Clean Power
“Now I can weave until midnight.”
As the sun sets on the small Indonesian island of Sumba, Danga Beru Haba begins weaving under the glow of a single incandescent lightbulb, the only one in her home. Although she is tired from working dawn to dusk in the fields surrounding her village of Kampung Kalihi, the sarong she is weaving to sell locally will provide extra income for her family.
Being able to weave at night is still a novelty for Haba. Her village has had electricity for two years, thanks to a small wind farm on a hill overlooking the village. Access to electricity means women can now weave and children can study long after the sun goes down.
“I started weaving after we got electricity. Before that I couldn’t do it,” Haba says through a translator. “Now I can weave until midnight.” She has saved close to US$200 as a result, which she says she’ll spend on her children’s education.
Sumba is a largely rural, sparsely populated island, one of thousands in the archipelagic nation of Indonesia. Due to rugged, hilly terrain and scattered villages, only 25 percent of its inhabitants had access to electricity before 2010. Nevertheless, this island of around 650,000 people, accounting for just 0.2 percent of the country’s population, is aiming to set an energy example for all of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country and Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Through an initiative known as the Iconic Island Sumba project, international donors working with the local government plan to bring electricity to all of the island’s residents using only renewable sources in the next 10 years.
Will Sumba be able to do it? Read our story in English HERE — soon on the radio in Indonesia.
Round Earth Media