“Energy Café” opens in the Pamir Mountains


An “Energy Café” has opened in the remote village of Nisur, located in the upper part of the Bartang Valley, in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. The Café will provide local residents access to clean and affordable energy and Internet resources. This project was possible due to a joint initiative between Little Earth and the Norwegian Nature Conservation Society. The idea of the Energy Café was supported by the EKOenergy Network.

Nisur Village is located in the upper part of the Bartang Valley, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, at an altitude of approximately 2 500 metres. The local population is mainly engaged in subsistence farming and partially in animal husbandry. Most of the 42 families live below the poverty line. The settlement has no access to central power lines, and the main fuel and energy source used by local residents is bush growing in the area.

In early August 2017, the staff of Little Earth set up a solar system in Nisur with a capacity of 1 kilowatt (kW). The system includes four solar photovoltaic panels, two batteries, an inverter and a charge controller. The power of the system is enough to operate two laptops, an inkjet printer and to light the room. Thanks to the batteries, the solar power accumulated during the day will be available to power the equipment for several hours after sunset and on cloudy days.

“Due to a very limited budget, implementation of the idea required certain contributions from the local community and our organization. For example, the room for the Energy Café was provided by one of the community members for free, and several tables and chairs were given by heads of the village. The Little Earth staff installed the computer software and delivered the required technical assistance free of charge. We also want to note the well-arranged preparatory work led by members of ‘Oyandasoz’, a local NGO and partner of Little Earth in the Bartang Valley,” said Timur Idrisov, Senior Advisor of Little Earth.

Together with an excursion for residents to the Energy Café, Little Earth organized an exhibition of renewables and resource-saving devices. During the course of the event, participants received information about the project, including the future plans for a café and the “green” technologies involved. Over the next two days, representatives of Little Earth trained local youth – the future staff of the café – in the basics of using computers and the Internet, as well as how to properly operate the solar system.

The Energy Café will function on a commercial basis, delivering Internet access and services to Nisur and neighbouring villages, such as cell phone charging, printing and copying and other services, at low costs. In a later phase of the project, 50 portable solar lanterns will be provided to the Café for selling. The earnings from their sale will provide the opportunity to purchase new energy-saving devices and support the Café.

“This project is an experiment for us and our partners. We hope that the Café will become a centre where local residents will find solutions to address their energy needs and have access to the Internet at an affordable price, without having to travel hundreds of kilometres to the district centre. Our objective is to support the launch of this initiative. Its further success will depend largely on effective management and administration of the Café by residents in the village”, said Anton Tymoshenko, Director of Little Earth.

Responsibility for the safety of the equipment and managing the work of the Café will be taken by Oyandasoz, jointly with locals in Nisur. Little Earth believes that this small project will be a great tool for further project implementation and the spread of new, resource-saving technologies and renewable energy resources, to improve the knowledge of the local population on sustainable energy.

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