ACROSS OUR PLANET, 789 MILLION PEOPLE
LIVE IN ENERGY POVERTY, THAT'S 1 IN 10 PEOPLE

Energy poverty condemns billions to darkness, ill health, unfulfilled futures and repeated cycles of poverty.

— Ban Ki Moon, former United Nations Secretary-General

WHAT IS ENERGY POVERTY?

One of the single greatest impediments to sustained economic and social growth is the pervasive problem of energy poverty - the lack of access to clean, reliable, and affordable grid-based energy sources that meet basic domestic needs.

Every night, more than 789 million people worldwide (source: UN Sustainable Development Report, 2020) are plunged into complete darkness. To light their way through the night, they depend on other means such as using harmful fuel-based sources like kerosene.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

 

SOLAR LIGHT CHALLENGE

Together with SolarBuddy, we launched the Solar Light Challenge right here in Singapore which aims to provide solar lights to children living in remote communities within Southeast Asia with little to no access to electricity.

Engage your colleagues and learn more about energy poverty, renewable energy and how you can be part of the solution. Together, participants assemble solar powered lights and write letters to these children. Once the assembly is complete, the lights and letters are then sent to children from a chosen community within the region.

Through this gift of light, we are not only illuminating their nights but also contributing towards their education, health and wellbeing and also the economic stability of these communities experiencing energy poverty whilst reducing environmental pollution. Above all, it empowers this next generation of youths with a sense of hope for the future.

The Solar Light Challenge is also aligned with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The impact of energy poverty is profound, leading hundreds of millions of people to darkness, ill health, unfulfilled futures and contributes to the cycle of poverty.

ENVIRONMENT

The burning of fossil fuels such as kerosene produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which accelerate the rate of climate change and have harmful impacts on not just the environment but our health and wellbeing too.

Kerosene lamps are not only a significant global source of atmospheric black carbon (BC) which is a strong climate warmer, but also has many adverse effects on the populations using them.

EDUCATION

Without a reliable light source, as soon as the sun sets, so does the opportunity for the next generation to learn and develop the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty.

In addition, sourcing fuel such as gathering firewood for their energy needs can be both strenuous and time consuming which reduces the amount of time children living in these communities can devote to their education.

ENVIRONMENT

The burning of fossil fuels such as kerosene produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which accelerate the rate of climate change and have harmful impacts on not just the environment but our health and wellbeing too.

Kerosene lamps are not only a significant global source of atmospheric black carbon (BC) which is a strong climate warmer, but also has many adverse effects on the populations using them.

ECONOMIC

Living in energy poverty is not simply an inconvenience, it’s a social and economic tragedy. Communities without access to reliable and affordable energy spend a significant amount of their limited income on inefficient and expensive energy sources, with kerosene costs alone costing low-income earners up to 40% of their annual income.

Research shows that when energy is above 10% of income, it begins to have an impact on general household welfare as it deprives families of other basic goods and services necessary to sustain life.

HEALTH

Indoor air pollution, such as black carbon, and harmful smoke that includes carcinogens and carbon monoxide is released with the burning of fuels such as kerosene. Inhaling these particles can result in respiratory infections, lung and throat cancers. It is said that breathing in kerosene fumes for a few hours is the equivalent of smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 4 million people die each year from the effects of indoor air pollution, half of them children under the age of 5. Indoor air pollution causes more premature deaths than HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

In addition, the use of these fuels poses a significant safety risk with kerosene lamps being responsible for 70% of fire incidents and 80% of burn injuries. Fuel-based lamps are considered a serious fire hazard because they are easily knocked over and the fuel is highly flammable.

Access to affordable and sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability and every person deserves access to safe, reliable, affordable energy and the human progress it enables.

Investing in renewable energy resources and adopting clean energy technologies is imperative to help communities break the cycle of poverty.

Interested to take part in the Solar Light Challenge?
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