The burdensome task of spending up to 5 hours a day collecting biomass for fuel, a responsibility largely assumed by women and girls, also detracts from their ability to engage in income-generating activities. Without light, time at the end of the day is equally unworkable. Eliminating the task of fuel collection will create the opportunity for women to play a larger role in their families’ income-generating activities, and give them more autonomy over the family’s resources. Additional workable hours in a day, coupled with monetary savings from not having to buy costly kerosene for lighting, will foster the creation and growth of new business, allowing females to play a more equitable role.
Job Creation and Income Generation
Micro solar lights are a very effective tool for building capacity of local organizations and can be an opportunity to reach the estimated 85% of the Haitian population not connected to the power grid. Micro solar lights can lead to the creation of small businesses. The distribution and sale of these lights can stimulate employment and income generation for local populations. Such a model can be scaled and replicated by both the government and development partners.
Micro solar lights directly contributes to the economic development of families and communities. They enables poor families, many who are already living on less than $1.25 per day and spend $10-$30 per month on kerosene, to gain a savings of $100 to $300 per year. A rural community of 50,000 farmers will in turn see savings on annual kerosene costs of $1 million, reaching as high as $3 million. Eliminating this costly burden alone will put families and communities in a more stable economic situation. These savings, combined with training on financial literacy, serve as powerful catalysts toward contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of ending extreme poverty.
The true promise of solar-powered lights as a solution to energy poverty lies in the opportunities they will create. Women and girls will no longer spend 2-5 hours per day collecting biomass for fuel and heat. Nighttime hours that were previously inefficient without a lighting source will become productive. Every hour of time saved translates into another hour individuals can spend on income-generating activities. For some, this will mean concentrating on an existing business. Others will have the time and increased monetary resources to start a new business. Women will have the opportunity to play a more equitable role in their families’ income-generating activities.