In the West African country of Mali, 26% of the country’s 46 community radio stations use solar PV systems to power their broadcasts. One example is Radio Kamadjan, shown in the picture above. Radio Kamadjan serves the village of Nafaji in the Mande region, southwest of the capital, Bamako. The station broadcasts for at least five hours per day, typically from 6pm to 11pm. The FM transmitter has a range of almost 30 km, and runs on two batteries charged by the solar panels. The equipment was donated to the community by its twin city in France.
Community radio stations fill a vital need by bringing news and information from the outside world to hundreds of remote, isolated communities across Africa. The radio stations are run by local people who know their communities and speak the local language. Maintaining an affordable, reliable source of electrical power is an ongoing challenge for many of these stations – one of several challenges the stations must face in order to sustain their activities.