Safe and Sustainable Light for Girls in Afar, Ethiopia


If you educate a girl, you give light to the whole community.

The PAGES project is an initiative that supports girls’ education in the Afar region of Ethiopia. 500 Little Sun solar lamps will be given to kids living without access to electricity, thanks to Save the Children and DFID.

Over 16 million students in Ethiopia live in energy poverty, which means that they do not have access to sustainable light. Often the only time that students can read and study is after the sun goes down. Most students living in off- grid regions are reliant on dangerous, polluting and expensive Kerosene lamps for their lighting. We aim to empower a generation of primary school children by giving them access to clean sustainable energy so that they can believe in the power of renewable energies and the power of themselves. By holding hands with the sun a child can hold hands with a brighter future.

The Pastoralist Afar Girls’ Education Support (PAGES) project aims to improve girls’ education in Afar, which is one of the most underdeveloped regions of Ethiopia. The project is led by Save the Children, supported by two local NGO’s and funded by DFID. PAGES works to accelerate the well being and life chances for marginalized girls. They do this by ensuring that the primary curriculum is taught in the Afar language, and they support girls through the full education system.

Hassna is one such schoolgirl from Afar, Ethiopia. Take a look at her solar story:

 

Energy poverty especially affects girls and women in rural areas. This is because females living in off- grid communities usually spend a lot of time doing domestic activities, so they suffer a higher level of exposure to smoke from kerosene, which causes indoor air pollution and huge health problems. Women and girls’ are also often forced into situations where their personal safety is at risk, because they do not have light to guide them when they are outside in the dark. Many girls need to walk back home from school after sunset, and collect firewood and fetch water in the evenings, which can leave them susceptible to attacks.

If you educate a girl, you give light to the whole community. And if you give a girl sustainable light, her access to education improves, her health improves and you strengthen her self-confidence and well-being. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4: Quality Education, 5: Gender Equality and 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, we are working to empower girls living in off grid communities.

 

At the beginning of this year we met with the Save the Children team in Addis Ababa and discussed how we can contribute to their program which aims to help 18,498 marginalized girls. Save the Children’s impact assessment for solar lighting on people’s livelihoods not only includes positive results for health, economics and education but also noted the great improvement to many people’s psycho-social well-being.

We are really glad that the Little Sun lamp was chosen to support the girls in Afar by providing them with a safe and sustainable reading light. On October 10th 2016, right in time for the start of school, the distribution of Little Suns began with 17 students receiving their solar lamps at Dewe Woreda – Ksobora upgrading school. The Little sun light will continue to spread across the Afar region, brightening up the future for marginalized school girls.