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February 26, 2014

Life Is Better With Luci: How Solar Lanterns Help Keep Haitian Communities Safe and Healthy

More than 1.6 billion people around the world rely on kerosene lamps as a source of light. Kerosene is a toxic fuel oil that can irritate the skin and adversely affect the central nervous system, contributing to the nearly 2 million premature deaths caused by indoor pollution related illnesses. Kerosene fuel also adversely impacts the environment. A recent report shows that 7-9 percent of the kerosene used in lamps is converted into black carbon, a powerful climate change pollutant, and that limiting the use of kerosene lamps could significantly mitigate the rise in global temperatures over the next 50 years.

MPOWERD, a social enterprise with a vision to eradicate energy poverty with clean energy solutions, develops and manufactures lightweight, inflatable, waterproof lanterns that are emission free. These lanterns are called Luci Lights. In 2013, MPOWERD teamed up with the GlobeScan Foundation to assess the social, economic and environmental impact of Luci Lights on hundreds of Haitian families (click to see the report and press release). The results were astounding. Life with Luci was cheaper, safer, healthier and more productive.

To see how the solar lanterns influenced the life of Haitians, use the interactive chart below:

These quantitative measures were supported by qualitative reports. When asked how the Luci Light had impacted the quality of his life, a 60 year old male said, “The kids study better, we can see when bugs come in and get rid of them now. It’s actually pleasant to be indoors at night because of the light,” and a 24 year old female said that the lanterns had “made [her] family’s environment healthier and safer.” When asked what he liked about the Luci Light, one male responded by saying “[I like] that it protects me and I save money. My clothes don’t get black stains [and] my house is safe from catching fire from candles and gas lamps.”

The collaboration between MPOWERD and GlobeScan shows how solar lanterns to provide economic growth, positive social impact and a sustainable lifestyle to those afflicted by energy poverty. But Luci Lights are not only for those in poverty. Results from GlobeScan’s 2013 Radar survey shows an average 4.8% increase in the purchase of energy efficient light bulbs since 2009, suggesting that consumers are trying to move toward more efficient sources of light. Through the Give Luci Light program, you can purchase a Luci Light for your home and provide a solar light for energy poor communities around the world. As a 20 year old surveyed male from the town of Mirebalais says, “Life is better with Luci."