By Zahir Shah
The Agahi Foundation, in collaboration with Philip Morris (Pakistan) Ltd., installed 72 solar-powered water heaters in public schools, community centres, healthcare facilities and other buildings in Swabi, Mardan and Charsadda districts (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Sahiwal District (Punjab).
The installation will benefit more than 6,000 residents in those districts, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and promote alternative energy, officials say.
“The new initiative is not only cost effective but will raise the living standards of the communities,” Agahi Foundation President Puruesh Chaudhry told Central Asia Online.
This initiative will go far in raising the living standard of marginalised communities, partly by making solar-heated water more widely available, Muhammad Sarwar Nasim, a community leader in Sahiwal District, said. Having hot water available all the time will reduce the incidence of colds and other ailments, he said.
Pakistan is one of 10 countries that face a severe energy crisis, according to a 2013 UN report. About 1.3 billion people in the world live without electricity, and two-thirds of those without power are clustered in Pakistan and nine other countries, the UN said in its Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific-2013.
The Agahi Foundation is working on using institutionalised sustainable structures in Pakistan to raise living standards, Asif Farooqi, the executive director of Agahi, said.
The foundation sets workflows, guidelines and a benchmarking mechanism as well as training programmes so that relevant institutions can take ownership, he added.