Spanning the equator

Catherine’s travels: Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa

As Commercial Lead for Dulas Solar International, Catherine McLennan is responsible for achieving business growth in the countries we operate. This involves travelling to the many regions to further raise awareness of Dulas, of our cold chain solutions, and of our ever-expanding network of in-country partners.

This autumn, Catherine helped to spread the Dulas message far and wide, starting with a visit to West Africa in September, before heading over to Latin America in October, concluded by a trip to East Africa in November, it was a busy few months!

Dulas's Catherine McLennan at the TechNet conference in Panama

First stops: West Africa – Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea

Catherine’s September visit to West Africa started off in Benin where she was greeted by in-country partner, Abel, Director of Esor Ika.

Esor Ika was established in Benin in 2008 and specialise in the supply, installation and maintenance of hospital equipment, medical devices and renewable energy. With over a decade of professional experience, their technical staff have acquired strong expertise in the implementation of photovoltaic systems.

In 2019 they carried out the successful delivery and installation of over 300 SDD (solar direct drive) refrigerators for a Gavi-funded CCEOP (cold chain equipment optimisation programme) project for Benin.

Our local partners are invaluable in all the countries we operate in – they know their countries well and are aware of the logistical challenges in getting cold chain to last mile communities. With full training and support from Dulas HQ, our partners have the skills, knowledge and experience of carrying out installation and training programmes for end users of our equipment.

During their time in Benin, Catherine and Abel paid a visit to Le Follereau Foundation, a charity that provides education and training, and access to healthcare, food and sanitation to left-behind populations, (such as those with HIV, disabilities, or suffering from leprosy).

Next Catherine visited Centre du Santé de la Minière where she was delighted to meet worker Colarie Gnide who said that they look after around 200 pregnant women a month and keep vaccines such as BCG, Pentavalent, Tetanus, Measles as well as Covid vaccines on site.

Colarie said that they are pleased to have the reliability of a solar powered refrigerator to ensure vaccines are stored at the correct temperature.

The team also met with the Director of Vaccines and Logistics– PEV*, Benin, where they discussed the importance of ongoing maintenance to ensure a robust cold chain programme.

*PEV (Programme elargi de vaccination), otherwise known as the Expanded Vaccination Programme, is a worldwide project to ensure that all children can benefit from life-saving vaccines.

Healthcare worker Colarie Gnide at the Centre du Santé de la Minière with Abel (Esor Ika)

There is nothing better than seeing our products in-situ at a real life location within a health centre, and hearing about the positive impact they have on the local communities they serve.

– Catherine McLennan

Cote d’Ivoire

Catherine and Abel then travelled onto Cote d’Ivoire, where they met with the Director Coordinator of PEV (Programme Elargi de Vaccination) at the Ministry of Health. The meeting provided the perfect opportunity to showcase Dulas’ portfolio and discuss the country’s future cold chain requirements.

The PEV has a mandate to ensure that all children, including those in hard-to-reach areas, can benefit from life-saving vaccines, and countries all across sub-Saharan Africa are beneficiaries of this innovative programme.

Catherine visiting La Minière health centre in Guinea.

It was wonderful to see the Dulas VC60SDD being used by the staff and to appreciate how important it is to have reliable vaccine storage.

– Catherine McLennan


Catherine concluded her West Africa trip by flying to Guinea, where she met local partner Dr Camara of Africa Healthcare Guinea, and then held a meeting with the National Coordinator of PEV Guinea Conakry. Dulas has supplied many solar refrigerator systems to country already and there are further opportunities with future installation projects on the horizon.

At the meeting they discussed Dulas’ solar direct drive refrigerator range and how they can play a key part in ensuring a safe and secure cold chain at last mile posts where there is little or no electricity supply.

Next stop: Latin America – Panama

In October, Catherine attended the 17th TechNet Conference in Panama. The theme of the conference was ‘Immunisation Programmes That Leave No-one Behind’.

This years Conference provided the perfect opportunity for key stakeholders from across the globe to network and discuss new innovations and solutions to tackle vaccination of last-mile communities, those communities that are often left behind.

Dulas showcased a VC150SDD at the Manufacturers Marketplace, this is their most popular refrigerator model, offering a large net volume vaccine capacity and freezing capabilities for up to 20 x 0.6L waterpacks. The conference provided ample time to network with delegates from UNICEF, Gavi, and representatives from Ministries of Health from across the globe.

Catherine meeting with Ministry of Health officials along with Paul Alba from the Department for Business and Trade.

Final stop: East Africa – Ethiopia

Finally, Catherine completed her autumn travel with a trip to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where she connected with local partner Asre of Beta Engineering Services.

Beta Engineering Services Plc is a multidisciplinary engineering company established in 1994. Since then it has been providing engineering services to national and international private companies, governmental and nongovernmental organisations.

Dulas first began working with Beta Engineering through personal contacts in the 1990s. They have been Dulas’ partner in Ethiopia for the last 20 years and have worked together on large scale water pumping projects as well as the installation of our solar refrigerator systems for several CCEOP projects.

During her time in Addis, Catherine attended several meetings with key stakeholders to discuss how Dulas can help to further support their cold chain infrastructure across Ethiopia.

Catherine visiting the UN compound in Addis

Catherine is no stranger to travel and there really is no substitute for building relationships face-to-face; we are already looking ahead to 2024 with more international trips around the corner.

Catherine McLennan
Commercial Lead for Solar International

For further information, feel free to get in touch.

Solar International Tel: 01654 705 055

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