Solar-powered charging booths provide shade, convenience in Nairobi

Some of the youths who are part of the Chagika team during the launch of the charging booth in Dagoretti, Nairobi, on September 9, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

A group of youths in Nairobi have come up with an innovative idea to transform some shades into solar-powered charging booths.

The initiative, dubbed Chagika, aims to provide safe and convenient spaces for city residents who need to charge their phones using clean energy.

Emmanuel Murunga, the founder of Chagika, says he was inspired by the need to embrace renewable energy and to offer a solution for people who want to charge their phones outdoors.

"Our aim is to provide shade at the public spaces, where one can comfortably sit and charge their phones using solar energy," he said.

The booths are medium-sized and can accommodate up to six people in sitting positions. They have triangular-shaped roofs installed with solar panels, which generate electricity for the sockets beneath the seats. Users only need to bring their own chargers to plug in their phones.

Murunga says he came up with the idea after noticing how some people were struggling to find charging spots, especially those who arrive in the city for the first time with low battery levels.

"On the other hand, this is clean energy that does not require much investment but as we continue identifying safe spaces in the city and away we believe this is a suitable project for counties to encourage the youths to think outside the box," he added.

One of the booths has already been tested in Dagoretti, and Murunga hopes to expand to other parts of the city and beyond. He also appeals to the government to support innovations by the youth and create friendly policies that can foster change and creativity.

"We appeal to government to promote innovations especially by the youth, friendly policies will help us thrive," he said.

Murunga also expressed his interest in setting up a booth at Uhuru Park, which is undergoing renovation.

"Now that Uhuru Park is almost ready, we hope Nairobi County will allow us a space as we expand to other parts as we aim to reach other counties," he said.

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