Halfway to our goal of 50,000 solar lanterns distributed around the world

August 22, 2013

With more than 25,000 portable solar lanterns being distributed to off-grid households in Uganda, Rwanda, Nepal and Haiti, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), in partnership with the Global BrightLight Foundation (GBF), is now half-way to its objective, thus reaching an important milestone.

During the United Nations Rio+20 conference held last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the world’s leading electricity companies, through the GSEP, pledged a series of concrete actions in support of the objectives of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. At this occasion, the GSEP announced a partnership with the Global BrightLight Foundation to provide 50,000 portable solar lanterns to off-grid families in developing regions of the world that have no access to electricity.

Since then, both organizations have worked closely to select project locations and connect with local partners who will assist with sustainability aspects, including repair and replacement. They are also supporting the development of local entrepreneurs involved in the distribution of affordable lighting solutions. This joint program focuses on areas where the probability of installing distribution wires or even a micro-grid is very slim. By using clean solar-powered lanterns instead of kerosene, firewood or candles at night for reading and working, the recipient households improve the quality of their living and health conditions.

"Before buying the lantern, I had to collect wood on the way back home and burn it to get some light. Now I can use the lantern whenever I like, and save my children from the soot of burning wood", said Nbayisabye Nanias, a tea farmer in Rwanda who benefited from the joint GSEP/GBF program.

Since its inception in 1992, GSEP has worked in collaboration with UN agencies, key international organizations and local partners to enhance clean energy access and reduction of fossil fuels consumption by the poorest populations of the world, without pursuing commercial gain.