April 2012
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A note from d.light...

As of April 2012, d.light has sold a cumulative total of over 1.3 million lights since inception in May 2007. One light impacts an entire household, transforming life after dark and opening up a whole new range of possibilities for our consumers. Even if a light is purchased only for one child to study, the light is inevitably also used for other purposes (such as working), while creating a safer and healthier environment. The average number of people per household can be as high as 7 or 8 in our markets, but we use a conservative estimate of 5 people per household to assess impact. Yes, we've sold more than a million lights; but, what this really means is that d.light has brought life-changing opportunities to 6.5 million people without access to reliable electricity in 43 countries. That's something to get excited about!

Office Hours: New Markets

New markets for solar-powered lighting—from Afghanistan to Guatemala—are developing every day. However, getting solar products to people in need is just the beginning. For d.light, changing lives for the long-term means not just "dropping" products in a region, but working with in-country partners to provide service, education and support that ensures consumer benefits (like improved health and safety) over the life of our products. Take the example of Oecusse, a tiny village on the north coast of Timor, where 45 percent of the population (67,000) live below the poverty line and more than 90 percent of households rely on dirty, dangerous kerosene for light. To support our longtime partner Kopernik and Fundesaun Esperana Enklave Oecusse (FEEO) on project called Light Up Oecusse, d.light's Derek Ngai trained everyone working on the project in the basic care and maintenance for the d.light S10 and S250, taking extra steps to ensure the longest life and best use of our lights. Altogether, the project delivered over 1,200 lights to Oecusse, resulting in a more than 80 percent reduction in income spent on kerosene. Visit the Kopernik marketplace for more detail on successful approaches to bringing innovative, life-changing technologies to the developing world.

From the Field: Project LiFE

Over 150 million students in India live with unreliable electricity, leaving most children with only one option for night time study—unhealthy, expensive, fire-prone kerosene lamps. While we support India's landmark Right to Education Act, which made education a fundamental, legally protected right, d.light is doing its own part to bring this new reality to students with our "Light for Education" (LiFE) effort. Last year, d.light piloted our LiFE program in Uttar Pradesh focused on schools in regions without electrical grid access, and found that students who used an S1 for 30 days in advance of their final exams not only increased net study time (57 percent studied 2-3 hours more than usual), but radically improved exam performance, and received markedly higher grades than in the previous year. In 2012, we will be working to get more d.lights to students in India—and we know they will be working to improve their test scores!

Partner Spotlight: Solar Sisters

Our partner, Solar Sisters, works to eradicate energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity, focused on solar technology. d.light is proud to work with this woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa. Juliet, a Regional Coordinator partner based in Gulu, Uganda shared a great story about d.light and consumer satisfaction that we just have to share:

      "While in Kitgum last week; Sara, one of our entrepreneurs told me this story. A group of students traveling back from Gulu to Kitgum in a Toyota Ipsum had a flat tyre [sic] on the road. It was after 7 p.m. and one of them had the d.light S1 reader which he placed on top of the car to give them light as they changed tyres. Once the tyre change was complete they forgot the light on top of the car and drove off!! The light toppled down and was run over. On retrieving it, the stand was completely flattened; the light had dust particles pressed into it. But guess what; it didnĀ“t break and it was still lighting; is still lighting. Needless to say all other occupants of the car ordered for their own immediately. They are spreading the news."

For the full story and pictures, please visit: http://www.solarsister.org/about-us/contact-us/

Featured Story: "Lighting Lives In Liberia"
The Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) of the Government of Liberia has launched "Lighting Lives in Liberia." Supported by The World Bank and Lighting Africa, Lighting Lives in Liberia is focused on developing the market for renewable lighting, including special provisions to allow local retailers to import lights such as the d.light S1, S10 and S250 at cost. In a country where 98 percent of the population lives off-grid, the RREA pilot—targeting the import and sale of 5000 solar-powered lights in 2012 more than 100,000 in 2013—could transform the lives of nearly half a million people. Thanks to our high quality and low prices, d.light was invited to be part of the pilot, working with local retailers to secure orders, distribute product and educate the population on the value of solar-powered lighting. We'll provide updates on the Lighting Lives project as we have them.
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