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Solving Energy Poverty

We are now just over a week into this project and I’m very happy to say the response has been very strong. As well as taking enough pre-orders to move to the next stage of the project we have attracted more partner organisations and been contacted by new potential donor organisations.

As we move ahead it is worth restating the issues that we’re seeking to address.

When resources are scarce the tipping points between simple survival and the ability to thrive can be subtle. A solution to one simple issue can effectively solve many. This is what we mean by ‘breaking the cycle of poverty’. By providing the ability to work or study during the evening affordable, sustainable lighting can change the life of a whole community. However in providing safe, sustainable light numerous other issues are also solved.

Across the developing world kerosene and paraffin are used as fuels for lighting. These fuels create fumes that cause chronic respiratory and eye disease. Those using these lighting sources, the poor and often women and children, consume the equivlant of two packets of cigarettes a day.

This is as much a health issue as it is an economic one with the  World Health Organisation reporting that there are 1.6 million deaths per year in the developing world due to indoor air pollution created by ‘traditional’ fuels. This is in fact the third biggest killer in the developing world with many of those at risk being under five and so far more susceptible to respiratory disease.

Traditional lighting sources also represent a clear hazard. More children die every year from fire related injuries than from both malaria and tuberculosis.

These fuels also represent a major household expense that can be effectively removed with the provision of solar lamps. Globally households spend 38 billion USD on kerosene every year – with each kerosene lamp emitting 100 kg of CO2 every year.

All these issues can be solved – providing more income, more useful time, safer environments, reducing infant mortality and carbon emissions with technology that is now accessible and affordable. Wiliam Gibson said way back last century  ” The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” – here we have a chance to even that out a little by providing simple, sustainable light to those who need it most.

It really can be just that easy.

Thanks again for your support.

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The Age Online

We were recently covered in The Age online.

Thanks to Larissa Ham for a great article.

http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/entrepreneur/bright-idea-to-light-up-africa-20111109-1n6t6.html

The Project is off to a great start and we’re looking to forward to hitting 700 lights to be supplied to BEN Namibia very soon.

Thank you to everyone for your support so far.