Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israeli Humanitarian Group Teams Up With NBA All-Stars to Empower Africa

Israeli charity, Innovation: Africa, has teamed up with NBA star Dikembe Mutumbo to bring solar energy to Africa

By: Emma Mazerall

Published: July 11th, 2014 in Sports » World

Israeli Humanitarian Group Teams Up With NBA All-Stars to Empower Africa

This week, former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo will return to his hometown of Kinshasha in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and not just to visit. His trip is part of an ongoing partnership with Israeli charity Innovation: Africa, which aims to bring solar energy to parts of Africa without electricity.

Mutombo will be joined with the head of Innovation: Africa, Sivan Ya’ari. The group will be inaugurating the newly installed solar power system at Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasha. This new solar electricity will allow doctors to perform surgeries at night, as well as providing refrigeration for medicine and vaccines.

Since its foundation in 2008, Innovation: Africa has developed countless solar and agricultural projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC.) To date, their efforts to provide hospitals with the refrigeration necessary to store life-saving vaccines has lead to the vaccination of over 300, 000 people in the African interior.

“With similar climates and natural resources, Israeli solar, water and agricultural technologies are a natural fit for African villages,” Ya’ari stated.

The solar energy from these Innovation: Africa installations not only provides access to electric light for schools and hospitals, but clean water: 20, 000 litres of water are pumped every day using solar powered technology.

This will be the second trip Mutombo and Ya’ari have made together with Innovation: Africa. Since his retirement from the NBA in 2009, Mutombo has dedicated himself to his humanitarian work. With Innovation: Africa, he has focused on improving access to quality medical care in the DRC.

Ya’ari and Mutombo have three additional projects planned for the near future: providing electricity to an orphanage housing 150 children, installing solar panels at a school serving 750 students, and bringing solar energy to Bu Medical Clinic outside of Kinshasa. Once installation is completed in July, this clinic will offer vastly improved medical care to over 11, 000 people from 21 nearby villages.

By the time this trip to the DRC is over, Innovation: Africa will have developed 80 projects in the region, serving well over half a million people. Said Ya’ari: “Our mission is to share the knowledge and expertise developed in Israel with people and communities that need it.”

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