Ayowecca: Solar Lanterns for Women

Impact Summary

Location: Tororo, Uganda

Co-founder visited project to meet with the community and learn about their needs

186 SunKing Pro 200 Solar Lanterns distributed to women in the community

Replaced 186 polluting and harmful kerosene lanterns

Solar Lanterns are 20X brighter than a kerosene lamp

Solar Lanterns can also be used to charge mobile phones

Solar Lanterns are portable so can be used at place of business as well as in the home

The Solar Foundation is on a mission to ensure that women and their families in underserved communities benefit from solar power. We know that the Solar Lantern, a portable light powered through a photovoltaic (PV) panel, is considered a "gateway product" for people taking their first step onto the clean energy staircase, and has been shown to have a profound impact on the quality of life of families living in energy poverty.

We worked with our partner, Ayowecca Uganda, to identify 50 women in the community who had no access to electricity and utilized unhealthy kerosene lamps for lighting as shown in the photo below of children studying during the evening:

Photo courtesy of Ayowecca Uganda

In January 2024, our co-founder Jon Ruth, visited Ayowecca to meet with the executive director, Jonathan Olwenyi, and to learn more about the community and distribute solar lanterns in a workshop for the women participants. Jon distributed SunKing Pro 200 Solar Lanterns to 110 women who signed up for the workshop, surpassing expected attendance by 50%. He helped Jonathan show the participants how to use the lanterns which provide light for up to three days with their durable, long-lasting battery. In June 2024, at the request of the team at Ayowecca, we followed up and funded an additional 76 solar lanterns plus solar home systems and smart phones for the Ayowecca team, including the 3 women chairpersons for our pilot, to help support these dedicated volunteers, provide a means to document and share impact and ensure they are personally experiencing the benefits and utility of solar.

Jon Ruth helping to distribute Solar Lanterns on his Jan. 2024 visit to Ayowecca Uganda

Women as Agents of Change

Research increasingly shows that climate solutions have the best chance of success when women are engaged at every level. This pilot will help build women's agency and confidence by starting them on the first step of the clean energy staircase. Solar Lanterns have been found to be "small but mighty" solar solutions that offer a myriad of benefits for women and their family members. These benefits include: 

  • Lower energy costs because they no longer have to pay for kerosene
  • Decreased pollution and GHG emissions
  • Increased health of the entire family
  • Improved sense of safety and security
  • Extended evening activities because the lights are bright and good for work and study
  • Increased economic development because lights facilitate work after dark and because they are portable, so they can be used at markets, etc., as shown in the photo below:
Solar Lanterns are portable and can enable new economic opportunities for example, selling goods in the marketplace after sunset. Photo courtesy of Ayowecca Uganda

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