Dov Lipman talks about the work of Innovation Africa, transforming millions of lives through providing clean water and electricity for entire villages, schools and hospitals, and ensuring that the local people take ownership of the project and maintain it.

Dov Lipman
Dov Lipman

Paul: What is Innovation Africa?

Dov: Sivan Ya'ari, an Israeli woman, nine years ago started this organisation with a very clear goal to bring electricity and water to people throughout African villages. We sit back and enjoy the most basic elements, we have electricity and we have water. There are 600 million people in Africa, 600 million who don't have electricity, 300 million who don't have clean water. That means limited education resources, that means minimal health services and that means no economy to speak of, no commerce at all. So Sivan had this idea of using Israeli technology, Israeli innovations and to go village by village and to provide them with these services. In nine years, in eight African countries, she has reached 162 villages, impacting the lives of over one million people who now have these most basic elements.

I always say God created the world and gave the world all the resources and now it is our job to partner together and to help tap into those resources. We have the ability to do so today using these Israeli technologies and innovations and that is exactly what we are doing.

Over one million people have been impacted, 350 thousand children have been vaccinated because they now have electricity and they now have power for refrigerators in their medical clinics. So we have accomplished a lot so far, thank God, but we have a long way to go.

Paul: These are just things we take for granted, I saw on your website it said some people had never seen a light bulb.

Dov: Exactly right, there are students studying in 2018 by kerosene lamps. You see people walking eight hours a day to try to find some kind of dirty water. This is why we have begun to use Israeli innovation and solar technology. We have water pumps to bring up clean water and we bring Israeli drip irrigations so now they have farming. By using solar panels and some other innovative elements, we have lights for their schools so they have the best teachers and they can study all day and all night. They now have medical centres which have the most basic services including electricity and that brings the greatest doctors.

But just the thought that there are people who have never seen a light bulb before, have never touched clean water. People can go on our website and see some of the video footage and you see the moment they get water. The excitement, something we do on a daily basis just turn on a tap, they get that water and the excitement they feel, the hope that it gives them for a better future its nothing short of a joy to be part of this effort. It's pure good and like I said before I feel like we're connected with God with this process of providing for the people on earth.

Paul: This doesn't just change people's lives, it transforms people's lives.

Innovation Africa

Dov: Exactly. We believe in a holistic approach, we don't just give them things, they have to take ownership of it. They have to have a solar committee, and they have to show us how they are going to maintain the project. We teach, we have Israeli engineers teaching people there in the African villages to be the engineers. They develop businesses so now they have education and a long term future, they have health services, and they can live longer. They have farming, they have commerce, and it's just the holistic approach, which transforms a village.

We are taught that if you save one life you save the world, here we are touching millions of people and literally saving worlds.

Paul: Something Africa has a lot of is sun isn't it.

Dov: That's right and that is the other thing, sometimes the source of the problem is the solution. We see the sun that is creating the drought, creating the condition in which they live, but the solution is right there. All it takes is two solar panels to be able to provide electricity for a school, two solar panels for a medical centre and like you said the sun itself provides that solution. The solar panel pumps to bring up the water from the aquifers, it's all there right in front of us, simple solutions to a difficult problem and that is the work that Innovation Africa does.

Paul: How much does it cost to put up a solar panel to bring up clean water?

Dov: To bring up a water system for a few villages is 50 thousand dollars. Think about this for a moment, 50 thousand dollars to provide water for numerous villages, another 25 thousand dollars to provide them with drip irrigations, 18 thousand dollars to give electricity to a school or medical centre.