The power of walking to power rural villages in Africa

27 Mar

Pavegen is a clean technology company that develop paving slabs to convert energy from people’s footsteps into electrical power. As part of the ‘What If I Can’ campaign sponsored by Samsung, they plan to place a 68 tile walkway in Sandton City Shopping Mall located in Johannesburg. The tiles have the ability to collect kinetic motion and store this as energy. In addition, the walkway consists of an interactive data screen displaying a leader board of real-time footfall data and providing an immediate visual payback.

Sandton City, Johannesburg has received acclaim for its great location. Every month over two million footsteps walk through the shopping centre which is enough to generate a considerably large amount of energy. The power created will be used to deliver disadvantaged communities in South Africa with simple amenities for example lighting and heating.

The ‘What If I Can’ campaign which runs from March to the end of May, is supported by Samsung as they look to boost their green credentials through community initiatives and product manufacturing. Samsung is on an operation to increase awareness and use innovation and technology to overcome region-specific problems. The campaign helps shift ideals towards a more positive, proactive way of thinking. By providing shoppers with the means to generate renewable energy through a simple act of movement, it is hoped that the campaign will highlight the fact that one person can impact the lives of others.

In an effort to spread contribution beyond the Sandton City walkway, Samsung has created a simple step-counting mobile application. The app will allow thousands of people across Africa to power solutions that benefit the less fortunate by basically walking. The app will be available from the Google Play Store.

The Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics Africa, Ntutule Tshenye said:

“We feel that a consumer facing campaign such as ‘What If I Can’ is both complementary and even gives credit to our innovate solutions such as Solar Powered Internet Schools and Solar Powered Digital Villages. Both initiatives work to empower people by delivering revolutionary solutions designed to overcome local challenges and take communities into the future; impacting the lives of people around the world.”

Within the first 20 days of the campaign at least 400 million steps have been accrued. The difference this technology could make is outstanding as in less fortunate regions of Africa they are without power. A blog posted last week described the problems within refugee camps, with people getting attacked at night when carrying out the most simplest of tasks, for example going to the toilet. If we were able to harness this technology correctly we could all benefit from this clean, green power.


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