COMMUNITY CREDIT FOR SOLAR LAMPS
LIGHTS4LIFE
Empowering disadvantaged neighbors in the Global Village to escape from the curse of darkness for a brighter life in the Solar Age
solar-pannels

Rural villages will no longer have to rely on candles and kerosene lamps for light. They will now have a more environment-friendly and cost-effective light source through the solar panels.

Worldview International Foundation in cooperation with Worldview Myanmar started a pilot project in 2012 to test 16 different solar lamps for the purpose of identifying the most cost effective lamp for the disadvantaged families without electricity. In addition to testing available lamps in the market, Worldview also worked with solar lamp producers to develop new designs. 35 of the poorest families were selected by a village committee for the first distribution of lamps. The committee is also following up the micro credit on a voluntary basis, with repayment within 6 months from the cost saved by the recipients on expensive candle lights.

child-studying

One of the significant benefits of solar lights is that it contributes towards the education of the children as they are able to study even during the night and prepare for their exams.

A brief evaluation of the project in April 2013 confirms positive impact of the solar lamps to the 35 families. They are all very happy with the lights and express their gratitude. The lamps are a revolution in their lives, with free energy from the sun. They are able to work after dark and earn more money by producing handicrafts. Children can study after dark. The school has recognized an improvement in performance of children from homes with solar lights. And the families save money as they do not have to spend any more on purchase of expensive candle lights or polluting and fire risking kerosene lamps.

As an extra contribution, the local school was awarded 3 computers with solar panels linked to batteries for a village learning center based on the Smart ICT Village model developed by Worldview in Malaysia. The learning centre has trained students in operation of computers, but due to no connectivity to Internet in the area, the project has still to ripe its potentials. Connections are expected to be possible in a few months by using dongles linked to mobile phone signals.

Experience from the pilot project has inspired us to take on a larger project, as simple solar lights has proven to be very effective in poverty reduction.

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