German express mail company DHL has partnered with two “light-giving organizations” – Little Sun and Solar Without Borders – to deliver solar-powered lights to people in Sub Saharan Africa, according to a report in WorldStage.
After the organizations offer local training, the solar systems and solar lamps can be made locally, the report said.
The goal is to encourage transfer of knowledge, create employment and stimulate entrepreneurship for some of Africa’s most vulnerable people, said Gilles Loobuyck, Solar Without Borders project manager in Sierra Leone.
More than 1.6 billion people lack access to lights and 30 percent of those live in Africa, said Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, in a prepared statement. “Using solar powered technology to give these people access to light is not just sustainable but also healthy, compared to conventional fuel sources.”
Germany-based Little Sun produces and distributes lamps worldwide by establishing sustainable trade routes, allowing off-grid distributors to make a profit while bringing light to local users, the report said.
Little Sun is active in six African countries with pilot projects under way across Africa, said Felix Hallwachs, CEO. “Together with our partners we have brought 25,000 solar lamps to users in Africa, in a trade-not-aid system that empowers all participants,” he said. “Working with DHL is an opportunity to engage a strong and large partner into the Little Sun network, supporting the beginning of further distribution projects. DHL is contributing to kick-starting long-term sustainable development opportunities.”
DHL Express is sending 4,000 lamps to Ethiopia and South Africa from Germany as part of Deutsche Post DHL’s activities around the U.N. World Environment Day.
The courier company also partnered with Solar Without Borders, a Belgian non-profit that developed the Solar Kiosk, a central solar installation for villages where 100 self-developed solar lamps can be charged.
“In this way we want to provide the most vulnerable people with decent, affordable and environmentally-friendly lighting,” Loobuyck said. “After offering local training, the solar system and solar lamps can be made locally. Beside ‘getting people out of the dark’, Solar Without Borders aims to encourage the transfer of knowledge, create employment and stimulate entrepreneurship.”
“Both Little Sun and Solar without Borders have great products that they are looking to distribute across Africa,” Rahavendra said.