UN offers prize to illuminate 3,000 Bosnian homes

Nov 29, 2012 by Aida Cerkez

(AP)—Challenge prizes have inspired inventions like margarine or canned food or achievements like the Lindbergh flight over the Atlantic.

To help people living too far from Bosnia's , the United Nations on Thursday offered $20,000 to whoever invents a relatively cheap solution for over 3,000 families there.

But the marketing potential of the is much higher, said Yuri Afanasiev, the U.N. coordinator in Bosnia.

The winning solution should not cost more than €5,000 ($6,500), be easy to handle and maintain and provide enough hot water and power to supply an average household.

"Ultimately, we are offering solutions for elderly people who will not have the skill to manage and maintain anything complicated," he said.

Such a kit could then be replicated in other remote areas in the world or in . Similar kits of already exist but the U.N. is looking for a cheaper solution—and one that matches Bosnia's harsh winter and its relatively high living standards.

Fifty families will get the winning solution in 2013.

The Isakovics, who live 12 kilometers (7 miles) from the small town of Stolac in Bosnia's southeastern hills, would like to be one of them. They rebuilt their house after Bosnia's devastating 1992-95 war but lost every hope that a would ever make it onto their shopping list.

"So we live like our chicken," said Rizvo Isakovic, 53. "We go to bed when the sun goes down. In the winter, that's around 6 p.m. Oh, man, your body gets stiff after lying around for 12 hours."

A small generator they received as a donation is too expensive to run for the five-member family, which lives on the cheese that Rizvo's wife Izeta produces from their five cows and 70 sheep.

Asked what he thought living with electricity would be like, Rizvo paused.

"It would be like being born again," he said.

Explore further: Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Snow hits Bosnian capital

May 14, 2012

The Bosnian capital and its surroundings were covered by snow on Monday, the first time in half a century snow has settled in Sarajevo at this time of year, as temperatures plunged to just above freezing.

A flexible way to use sun's rays

Sep 02, 2011

Carl Harberger's 6,000-square-foot house in the Chatsworth neighborhood of Los Angeles is equipped with six refrigerators, five TVs, a smattering of computers and a pool, among other things - enough to draw the wagging finger ...

Pacific's Tokelau in world first solar switch

Nov 07, 2012

The remote Pacific islands of Tokelau have become the first territory in the world to generate their electricity entirely from solar energy, in a project hailed as an environmental milestone.

Recommended for you

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

3 hours ago

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, ...

UK wind power share shows record rise

6 hours ago

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power ...

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

10 hours ago

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce ...

User comments : 0