Namene Solar Light Company (NSLC) has developed an affordable answer to some of the serious off-grid dilemmas faced by the poorest communities around the world. A period of research & development has yielded the newly improved SM100 solar lamp which has an increased battery life, extra brightness and an additional ‘beam setting’ for long distance viewing. This waterproof and virtually indestructible little lamp is set to make ground-breaking socio-economic and environmental headway for people and communities in greatest need.
Many families in Sub-Saharan Africa are spending $3 a week on kerosene oil fuel simply to light their homes when the sun goes down with poor quality lighting. This is often equivalent to 15% of their total household income. Historically, there has been no affordable alternative with which to read by, help to educate their children and manage household life in the dark. Sadly, extortionate cost is not the only drawback.
The health concerns associated with kerosene lamps are not limited to explosions and accidents, which cause over 1/3 of all hospitalised burn cases in these areas. Whilst it is well-known that inhaling carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide is bad for human health, more recent studies also show that combustion in kerosene oil lamps emits inordinately high proportions of black carbon (component of fine particulate matter formed through incomplete combustion) which is particularly hazardous for the lungs, skin and eyes of families living in proximity with kerosene lamps.
These families are paying for this reality with their livelihood, and with their lives, and if these sobering drawbacks were not enough to instigate reform then the environmental impacts will be. Black carbon not only reduces quality of life and shortens the lifespans of those endangered, but also has an incredibly damaging effect on the environment; one kilogram of black carbon causes as much climate warming in two weeks as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide will cause whilst circulating the atmosphere for 100 years. Each lamp therefore offsets the equivalent of nearly one tonne of CO2 over its lifespan of 5-7 years. This is surely the most cost-efficient carbon offsetting option available on the market.
The SM100 costs as little as $5 dollars and includes a warranty guarantee of 2 years. Buyers and users of the light therefore benefit from a two-week financial payback with ongoing savings, a higher quality of life, positive environmental impacts and insights into solar mechanics and the wide-reaching potentials of technology and innovation.
These lamps not only facilitate education by providing a safe and consistent environment with which to learn in, but their very presence also encourages and propels education in valuable areas such as solar, energy, health and technology. Additionally, lamp sales and distribution channels cultivate local entrepreneurism, enhance the safety of those using them and boost local economy. This innovation drives exponential social and environmental change within the community and the environment as a whole.
RAW Energy, in an initiative headed up by Sam Forrest, has recently purchased 250 of the latest SM100 lamps, and, in partnership with NSLC, shipped them to Swaziland, Namibia and Zambia to three distinguished community leaders who will distribute the lamps within their respective communities. RAW Energy’s contribution is another step in our company’s efforts against human induced climate warming in an area of renewable energy in which we are extremely passionate, having developed and managed several solar farms/installations ourselves, some of which we now own and manage. We are delighted to help the families these lamps reach, and hope that our donation will catalyse an avalanche in product sales, exhibiting the wide-reaching benefits of the lamps within off-grid communities.
Here are the three leaders have chosen to send the SM100s to.
Jeremiah through his brand of Jerempaul is a vibrant, charismatic and young activist from Swaziland. He dedicates most of his time, energy and resources into community development projects with the aim to empower those who are impoverished in one way or the other.
He is driven to invest in people and creates space where they can safely and freely pursue their talents. Jeremiah is a board member of the Vuvulane Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Outreach Foundation (an entity started by his parents) offering a footing for focusing on the most pressing needs of the children of Vuvulane. Their aim is to break the vicious cycle of poverty within the community and have been working hard achieve this through community build projects over the last 6 years.
Our donation of solar lights will further empower him to help his community by reaching out to those in need of electricity.
2/ Hilma Shapopi
Hilma is a former teacher in the northern part of Namibia. She is head of the women’s group in her region and dedicates her time to advocating woman and children’s rights. She has set up a trading project which is a space for community members to sell their produces, handcrafts and encourage healthy social integration. She also serves as a community counsellor and a member of the local school committee which ensures the teachers and students varied needs are met.
There’s a pressing need for alternative ways of light in this area, as the main source of night light is by candles or kerosene lamps. A donation of solar lights would make such a tremendous difference enhancing and prolonging lives in the community, and the ability for people to study without burdening household finances will empower many more in the community, especially women, to get an education.
3/ Justina Mutale
Justina is African Woman of the Year 2012, owns her own foundation, mostly active in Zambia, and offers global exposure to the NSLC group. Please visit her page to see the work she has done justinamulale.com