Solar Lamps in Kenya are being Highlighted

Posted on :Thursday , 12th August 2021

To persuade consumers to switch to clean energy, more than only high-efficiency, low-cost goods are required.

Illumination Africa, a joint IFC and World Bank initiative, has launched an education campaign aimed at companies and nine million people in rural Kenya to encourage them to switch from fuel-based to solar lighting.

Around 80% of Kenya's population is off-grid, or without access to a public electrical service, and must rely on kerosene, candles, or wick sticks for lighting, which are expensive, inefficient, and frequently dangerous.

The "Zonga Mble na Solar" ('Stay ahead with solar') education campaign is one of many projects run by Lighting Africa, which is helping to establish a market for off-grid lighting products in Africa and hopes to assist millions transition to solar-powered gadgets.

The campaign is teaching rural Kenyans how modern, solar lighting can improve their health, increase their savings (households typically spend about 10% of their income on kerosene), and provide them with better illumination in their homes, schools, or businesses in order to persuade them to abandon their fuel-based lamps.

Nana Asamoah Manu, Country Officer for Lighting Africa, said, “The main argument for people to switch from kerosene lamps to solar light is an improvement in their children health and education: the solar portable lights emit no fumes, and provide better illumination for studying. Longer productive hours for businesses is also a winning argument.” 

Illumination Africa has already held 66 discussions in Kenyan villages and small rural towns to increase awareness of solar lighting and its benefits. Thousands of individuals have learnt about solar lighting and how to tell the difference between good and terrible products.

Those who attend the forums – particularly the sceptics – can also spend a few minutes in a dark room to evaluate how solar portable lights outperform kerosene lamps.

“People are enthusiastic,” said Nana. “The major obstacle now is the relatively high upfront cost of solar lights. Many families can afford to spend 20 to 50 KES a day on kerosene, but are struggling to find 2000 KES for a solar lamp.”

Lighting Africa is partnering with microfinance institutions to acquire financing for rural homes and businesses interested in purchasing solar lighting systems. In addition to purchase, the initiative is looking into light renting solutions.

The education campaign was launched in September 2010 and will run until December 2011. Lighting Africa will launch a similar consumer education campaign in Ghana in December 2010. 


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