Eskom has come up with a novel way of educating people on the issue of solar power. With the help of Mamba Media, it has produced a four-page cartoon that will be featured in community newspapers around South Africa.
Eskom’s Gail Perry said: “The feature refers to solar education and not to any specific pilot. Our objective is to educate consumers, in an easy to understand and read way, the benefits, features and safe use of solar, in this instance low pressure solar.”
Perry added that the Department of Energy had allocated funds to the project. “There are four roll outs happening at present, Ivory Park (Eskom supplied customers Midrand), Sol Plaatje (Kimberley), Naledi municipality and parts of Tshwane (Eskom supplied customers). There may very well be further DE roll-outs, but none are with us at the moment. Note that many solar suppliers are doing their own roll outs the details of which Eskom does not have,” she said.
“The new technology feature will teach readers how to use solar energy and what the cost saving benefits of it are compared to electricity, gas, coal and other types of fuel,” says Mamba Media’s managing director, Craig Nadelman.
Perry said that the features placed in newspapers are in English only but that “there are many other items given out in the roll out areas, such as comic strips, posters, radio dramas, brochures, pull up banners, vehicle branding in all the relevant vernaculars”.
Nadelman said the Eskom feature had been designed to include engaging games which will assist in educating the target audience in an easy to understand and entertaining format. “And the headline ‘Free hot water for the people who need it most’ will grab consumer attention,” he said
Perry added that the games are “are educational, in a fun way. Our messaging is packaged in this way to allow for the lower literacy levels to also interact with and understand the message”.
Asked whether Eskom intended to create a series out of this type of ‘edutainment’, Perry said they had not done research on “these communication elements as yet”.
“Roll-outs are still in progress, so we do not have conclusive evidence that the characters were ‘identified’ with. Our opinion, however, is that these elements are very well received and that they will be well accepted in the communities, our informal information tells us the comic strips are very well accepted.”