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Lighting up a rural village in Ghana

By supporting Oxfam, you've helped fund a brand new solar energy pilot in Kpatua village, northeast Ghana. In collaboration with a local partner, we're bringing life-changing renewable energy to a school, a health clinic and 10 households - and we've provided solar lamps to 100 homes. It means that families here are healthier and able to plan for a brighter future.

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George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

The head teacher at the local primary school, Gocker Kwesi Musah, says solar energy has brought major improvements for children here. The school uses two large batteries to light up classrooms in the evening, so students with no lights at home can study after sundown.

"We have electricity to run computers and we're teaching students how to type and use a computer. When we give students homework, they can do it in the evening without having to get their parents to get them a lantern. Learning goes on in the night now because students have electricity in their homes."

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George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

Thanks to the project, Felicia can draw clean water from a tap connected to a tank that is filled daily by a solar-powered electric pump. It's completely changed everything: "When they installed the system and turned the valve on, I filled all my pots and water containers, and I shouted to all the other women to come get water," she says. "I was so happy."

In the next stage of the project, Oxfam will help the community bring water from the solar well out to their fields so they can grow vegetables during the dry season. But Felicia is not waiting - she's already grown a few tomato plants with water from the well. She can see the project's potential to help her family, and her village, to grow more.

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Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam

Felicia and her husband, Joseph, help to take care of the solar powered borehole in Kpatua. The borehole irrigates nearby farms, making it possible for farmers here to earn a living all year round. Joseph explains just how much this means: "The water is such a big thing in my life. My guinea fowls used to lay eggs in May but now they do in March because they have enough water…From next year I will not have problems with the children going to school. I'll be able to take care of that thanks to my guinea fowls' eggs…It's the best thing that has happened in my life."

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Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam

Ramatu's is one of around 300 families living near the Oxfam water pump. Before the pump was installed, she had to walk for about 1km each time she needed water. She used to queue for a long time for her turn to pump water by hand. It was hard work - and it used up valuable time. Before people like Ramatu could use the new solar pump, they also often relied on wells where there was a risk of catching serious water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid. Today, thanks to Oxfam supporters, Ramatu and her baby are safer.

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George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

Latana Ganda, the 26-year-old nurse at the village health clinic, is pictured here inspecting a vaccine she has stored in a solar-powered refrigerator. She used to travel about 7.5 miles to Garu, a nearby town with electricity, to get vaccines and ice packs, and bring back any unused vaccines at the end of the day. "Now with the solar fridge," she says, "we don't have to go every day, and we use a lot less fuel." It's easier to vaccinate children, keeping them healthier, and respond to emergencies at night.

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George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

The light outside this home is activated as the young boy passes it on his bike. The solar energy system generates and stores electricity for night-time use. The home is now safer - as are Mbil Ayaada's livestock, which he keeps outside his home.

Mbil Ayaada, the chief of Kpatua, says: "You can see children in the evening, they're all learning, I really like that. The solar lights help us at night to prepare food, and we don't have to buy batteries or kerosene for lamps any more. It's been a great help, and it is a saving for the community."