The Off-grid Solutions Project was started as part of the activities to commemorate Panasonic's 100th anniversary. On July 13, 2018, Panasonic donated a Power Supply Station (PSS) and solar storage to Baingbin Senna Village in the west of Myanmar. A ceremony to mark this donation was held in Yangon. The ceremony was very well attended, with 50 persons present, including special guests such as Ichiro Maruyama, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, members of JETRO and JICA, and members of the press. A ceremony to celebrate the installation of the devices was also held by the village at its school the day before this. This is the first step forward to finding solutions to the challenges facing the village.
Myanmar is a very special country that we have long maintained a relationship of friendship with. The Japanese government intends to support Myanmar's economy with ODA, and it gives us great pleasure to be able to contribute together with Panasonic. Approximately 60% of the people of Myanmar have difficulty in gaining access to electricity, so the aid generated by this project will have great benefits.
It is a great honor to join this project on the milestone of Panasonic's 100th anniversary, and we are very grateful for this opportunity. In addition to supplying electricity to villagers, this project involves translating Konosuke Matsushita's book into Burmese and publishing it. We would like to make use of this publication to develop human resources, which is today's top priority in Myanmar.
Our activities must go beyond donations in order to support the independence of communities. We will support human resources development through knowledge and skills-based training and build local industry models to help establish an educational base and increase income. These measures will help with achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It is a great honor to launch this project as part of Panasonic's 100th anniversary celebrations, in this fifth year of the Myanmar Branch. We are fully committed to finding solutions to challenges facing Myanmar as a society, through our corporate citizenship activities, as well as to the expansion of business here.
On the day before the donation ceremony, a ceremony was held by Baingbin Senna Village, the recipients of the donation, to celebrate the installation of the devices. Hearing the actual voices of the villagers reinforced in us the determination to do our best to find solutions for them. A press tour was also held for reporters invited from Japan. They visited the place where the PSS is installed and interviewed villagers.
The visitors were welcomed by the children of the village as well as many of the local people, despite the heavy rain on the day.
We had the opportunity to ask key people in the village about what problems are facing them, including the mayor and people involved with the school.
Visiting actual homes also gave us a chance to see what their daily life is like and hear more about what troubles them.
Semitau and Suhaid, Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan
The villages are scattered along the Kapuas river, the longest in Indonesia. Villagers are making a living in fishing or agriculture. It is expected that electricity will be used for processing freshwater fish and agricultural products. There is no electricity infrastructure in place. However, in some villages, the government provides a solar panel to every home.
Enkutoto District, Narok County
Near the border of Tanzania, there is a village where 3,700 Maasai live. There is no industry in this region. The only resource is farming cattle and goats. Daily expenses per family average $2.5. The majority of households are below the poverty line. The nomadic Maasai are recently beginning to live in settled areas, but their lifestyles still depend on their traditional pasturing and small-scale agriculture. In part due to the effects of climate change, they find it difficult to escape from poverty. Only 36% of Kenyans have access to electricity, and only 12% in rural villages. This village is one without access to electricity.