Light and charging as the greatest life improvements
More than 90% of households say having access to light and charging are the greatest life improvements after purchasing a solar technology, according to GOGLA report from July 2018
By: Iben Bjørgulf Antonsen
Lets take a small trip to rural Kenya. Away from flickering city lights, neon signs and buzzing intersections. Here, in the off-grid community with no access to electricity, light is often lit up through low quality, status quo, lighting sources such as kerosene lanterns, battery torches and candles. Mobile phones are charged in exchange for a fee (amounting to USD 25 per month) and often include miles and miles of traveling.
Having access to light and a charged mobile phone has become important necessities for all people around the world. In a newly published report from GOGLA, 93% of 2,300 off-grid solar customers reports that access to light is the greatest factor of life improvements after getting solar power. A total of 92% consider a charged phone the most important life improvement.
More than 5 billion mobile phone users by 2019
Living off-grid does not mean being cut off modern technology. On the contrary, an estimated 90% of the population – or 41 million mobile subscriptions – in Kenya have a mobile phone in 2017, according to statistics by the Communications Authority of Kenya. On average each household has 2.3 mobile phones in Kenya, GOGLA estimates. Globally, the number of mobile phone users is expected to pass 5 billion by 2019, according to The Statistical Portal.
What is Gogla?
Gogla is a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association representing more than 130 members in the off-grid solar lighting and electrification sector. It was established in 2012 and have a mission to help build sustainable markets, delivering quality, affordable products and service to as many households, businesses and communities as possible across the developing world. The objective of the association is to help the industry grow quickly but sustainably and to be the voice of the off-grid solar energy industry.
The mobile phone is not only a communication tool to stay connected with friends and family. It works as entertainment, a bank, helping centre, reading tool, and much more. In a study by UNESCO evidence show that mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries. Different mobile services help women during pregnancy and birth, while others help farmers with information on crop prices, market access and disease prevention.
The mobile phone is therefore a vital tool and necessity in the daily life of both on- and off-grid communities.
Light and charging as basic needs
Having unlimited access to light positively affects health (link), education (link) and safety (link). For this reason it is considered a basic need, and the BRIGHT SunBell was the first of its kind to be catagorized as a core relief item by the UNHCR in 2014. Since then more than 2 million lamps have been distributed to refugees and people in need.
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