30 % of Rwanda’s population has no access to the electricity grid. With the small-scale construction of solar panels this problem can be solved. The experience of academic exchange between UNIPR teachers and a delegation of professors who arrived from Rwanda enlightens us in this regard.

Professor Vivian Ishimwe, a Rwandan teacher who arrived at the University of Parma as a participant in the mobility organized within the Erasmus + EnRHEd project, coordinated by the University Center for International Cooperation (CUCI), has had a significant experience in this academic exchange with teachers at our University.

During the activity supported with colleagues from the Department of Engineering and Architecture and the CNR-IMEM, Professor Ishimwe had the opportunity to participate in the small-scale construction of solar panel with photovoltaic cells. The electrons generated with these self-produced panels can produce enough current to power various electronic devices or to store in small batteries.

“The experience with UNIPR academics is a great help for us Rwandan professors as it allows us to share the new knowledge acquired with our colleagues and students in Rwanda. In our country we have 30% of the population, that is 4 million people, without access to the electricity grid mainly due to the morphological characteristics of our landscape, full of mountains. Our challenge is to get to these remote places with these self-produced solar panels”, explains Professor Ishimwe.

This activity of academic exchange is intertwined with the Erasmus + GREATER project in which our University is the lead partner, which involves four Rwandan and three European institutions. This project aims to accompany the energy transition in Rwanda by training professionals and creating structures that facilitate and make a smart social and economic growth of the country.

The GREATER project has obtained funding of 800.000 euros from the European Union as part of the “Erasmus + Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices” program, under the action “Capacity Building in Higher Education-Joint Projects” and will have a duration of three years. GREATER is also supported by the Rwandan Ministry of Education and local companies active in the energy sector. This project was born in continuity with the current EnRHEd Project which has seen University of Parma involved in academic Capacity Building for about 4 years, and which will end in January 2024.