There are many who believe nearly 1.5 billion people in the world who live without access to modern forms of energy should have a voice to affect change for the better. Among those with the mission: the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF). The nonprofit has been working to eliminate energy poverty through the use of solar power and today it announced the launch of “Energy is a Human Right,” a campaign showing support for those living in energy poverty.
In announcing the campaign, SELF executive director Bob Freling said that energy is essential for living a quality life. “Access to energy is foundational to achieving a broad range of basic human rights and all of the Millennium Development Goals. Without it, life is very, very difficult as I’m sure 1.5 billion people can attest to.”
Using what is called a Whole Village development model, the NGO has worked with communities to create and implement innovative solar energy solutions that can improve people’s health and educational environment, and spur economic development. To this end, SELF recently made a commitment to the United Nation’s “Sustainable Energy for All Initiative,” scaling up this model in Benin, West Africa. Actions have included installing solar systems to power water systems, schools, health clinics, community centers, and street and household lighting systems.
Since 1990, SELF has completed projects in more than 20 countries, pioneering unique applications of solar power for drip irrigation in Benin, health care in Haiti, telemedicine in the Amazon rainforest, online learning in South Africa, and micro-enterprise development in Nigeria.
In today’s press announcement, Freling added:
“Our hope in launching this human rights campaign is to call attention to the critical role energy can play in helping people lift themselves out of poverty and create a better life.”
Those many areas of the world that have no access to renewable or clean energy need participation from many other champions, in addition to SELF.
PHOTO: Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia
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