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6 April 2010 | Printer friendly

Sun energy in Armenia

Country: Armenia

Project: Sun energy in Armenia

Organisation: Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

Representative: Elena Manvelyan


Winner of the Climate Protection category of 2nd CEHAPE Award for environment and health.

Using summer sunshine to boost health and happiness

Coughs, colds, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases are a major threat to the health of small children in Armenia. With harsher winters predicted as a result of climate change, the situation is set to worsen unless energy for heating and hot water becomes more cheaply and easily available.

Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment have found a solution to what they call the "energy poverty" that will be associated with climate change in rural communities, namely solar energy.

Although winters are cold, Armenia has 2,500 hours of sunshine per year - a resource that the group has shown can be used to create energy cheaply. The women‘s organisation has worked with solar energy experts to set up an innovative and decentralised solar energy panel and plant at the kindergarten in Solak village. The total project cost was 3,000 Euros.

The new plant saves the kindergarten money and means that hot water is more available all the year around. Funds that would have otherwise gone on gas, wood and animal manure bills for the open fire are no longer required. The children‘s health benefits because unhealthy fumes from fire, including those created when plastics burn, are reduced.

More hot water has made life at kindergarten much more comfortable when winter temperatures fall very low. The children are healthier and happier. Teachers and kitchen staff also benefit, and a sense of hope has been created in the entire community. The project has shown that communities can act to counter the erosion of living standards associated with climate change. As part of a follow-up project, the families of some of the children have had their own solar plants installed at home.

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