According to the IEA, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. These people do not have access to modern energy services and are condemned to living in energy poverty. Their nights are filled largely with darkness and perhaps the dim flicker of a candle, or a smokey open fire that a young girl or mother undoubtedly spent hours gathering wood for during the day, or a dangerous and expensive kerosene lamp.
The ramifications of energy poverty extend far beyond simple inconvenience and inefficient lighting. Soleil Global is working to address this serious widespread social problem by distributing our solar powered lights, Luci, first in Haiti, and eventually throughout the developing world.
Listed below are ways Luci can help mitigate the adverse affects of energy poverty and empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.
- Improve education by enabling children to study. On our trips to Haiti, we have met children who explained that they often had to go out on the streets to study near street lights at night due to inadequate light in their homes. They cannot study when it’s raining and most don’t have street lights either.
- Ensure safety of young girls and women in slums and IDP camps where the incidence of rape and violent crime increases by over 50% in the absence of lighting. On our most recent trip to Haiti, we visited an IDP camps where we were told that the number of cases of rape in a camp went from 57 per week to just 2 after lights were installed
- Protect the environment by reducing the cutting of trees and CO2 emissions. Fuel-based lighting in the developing world is a source of 244 million tons of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere each year. This amounts to 58% of the CO2 emissions from residential electric lighting
- Improve health and quality of life by decreasing incidence of lung cancer, asthma, and pulmonary issues and Lower child mortality rate and improve maternal health with access to clinics with lighting. Imagine giving birth in the dark or doctors operating by candle light.
- Increase productivity by reducing time & transport burden of women and girls collecting biomass, thereby increasing opportunities for income-generating work.
- Promote economic development through investment of kerosene savings. With more available light at night, families can engage in income generating activities and have more productive hours in a day (start a business/ or second business, do more work for their existing business, etc). For example, the community of subsistence farmers in Hinche where we recently distributed lights spends from $10 – 30 per month on kerosene. Now that they have solar powered lights, they do not need to purchase kerosene on a monthly basis. This amounts to a savings of $1M to $3 M per year for a community of 50,000 farmers which can be reinvested into people’s economic development so they can stop being dependent on international aid and help themselves!
The dangers of using kerosene:
- The fumes from kerosene are equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day. Two thirds of adult female lung-cancer victims in developing nations are non-smokers.
- Pneumonia is responsible for 2 million deaths per year, making it the number one child killer. Indoor smoke is one of the underlying causes and to blame for nearly 800 000 child deaths annually.
- Women using kerosene lamps were 9 times more likely to have TB than those with electricity in Nepal.
- There are over 1 MILLION deaths each year due to kerosene lamps
- Millions of children are burned from kerosene lamps