Energy Poverty-The Role of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora
July 24, 2014 Editor 0
“Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” said World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte. “It is energy that lights the lamp that lets you do your homework that keeps the heat on in a hospital that lights the small businesses where most people work. Without energy, there is no economic growth, there is no dynamism, and there is no opportunity.”
Energy Poverty is a one of the major challenges we face in Sierra Leone. Energy poverty refers to the situation where large numbers of our people’s well-being is negatively affected by very low consumption of energy, use of dirty or polluting fuels, and excessive time spent collecting fuel to meet basic needs.
In other words 60% plus of our people reply on expensive and unsustainable alternatives such as kerosene, batteries and candles for their lightning needs. Until the grid expands, which will require of hundreds of million of investment, the majority of our people would have to adopt sustainable alternatives. Solar lanterns is one such alternative.
Burning money: In Sierra Leone, for example, poor families spend between 5-8 USD a month of kerosene, batteries and candles combined. This amounts to 96 USD a year! This is unacceptable when many people, 60% live on less than 2 dollars a day.
At the same time Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora remit some 55 millions dollars every year back to their family and friends home. A large proportion of these remittances goes to household consumption. Very little is saved. As so many families are off grid, spending on kerosene, candles, batteries, diesel for lighting constitute a significant expenditure for many families. Given the alternative of solar, this is a real waste of money.
Unintentionally your remittances are contributing to Energy poverty and financing poor health. In addition, many of our children are not able to properly study because they reply on Kerosene lamp or candles.
Burning of fossil fuel like kerosene, oils, woods and coal are the biggest sources of indoor pollution. Indoor pollution causes half as many deaths as malaria, nearly as many casualties as TB, and half as many as HIV/Aids. Indoor pollution is leads to thoracic infections and lungs diseases. World-wide some 4 million people die every year from indoor pollution-the majority woman and children. Of the 4 million it is estimated 800,000 are children, majority in Africa and Asia.
Think about investing in a solar lantern for your relatives and friends back home. You can mitigate the effect of climate change by contributing to the use of more sustainable lighting alternatives.
The savings from not buying kerosene will free up funds for other household items or even schooling; reduction from the serious effects of indoor pollution; better light for studying purposes; safer home environment and more.
Visit DiasporaSolar.com to learn more. We have charts, diagrams and calculations showing the case study. For example, every year on average each Sierra Leone spends $97 on Kerosene, candles and batteries. A solar lantern costing $50, with a phone charger has no running cost and the battery can last from 3- 5 years. This means after year one you can potentially realize savings of $97 every year and you get better health!
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