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Radio station goes solar in energy-poor Congo

This radio station in Africa is broadcasting live – and solar powered.

Environment group Greenpeace launched a community radio in Congo's Oshwe region that they said will no longer depend on expensive, noisy and polluting fuel generators but on sun-derived energy instead.

"[It is] a perfect example of the renewable energy opportunities that are a solution for communities like this," said Loan Tran Thanh, Congo country manager at Greenpeace Africa.

The community radio station will provide vital information to the people in the remote areas, in a place where energy scarcity is a concern.

The Oshwe community in Bandundu province near the capital Kinshasa is administratively classified as an urban area but its characteristics are similar to a rural community. It is situated in the Congo Forest Basin, the world's second largest rainforest and, like many other parts in the region, is very isolated and has been threatened by international logging.

A small local radio station called the Radio Television Bondeko exists in the area but because it runs on a fuel generator, it can't broadcast when fuel somehow fails to get transported to the area.

The new solar installation will deliver stable and uninterrupted broadcasts across secluded villages within a 100-kilometer radius, giving more forest communities access to the important news particularly about forest management from the capital city Kinshasa.

"We hope that [Congo's] government will see how important the solar-powered radio is in connecting with the forest communities while being an example of possible successful sustainable development projects in previously remote places, without necessarily destroying the world's second lung after the Amazon forest, " said Tran Thanh. – C. Dominguez

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