As our schedules become filled with an abundance of end-of-year obligations, it can be easy to take for granted some of the luxuries powering our daily lives. What some might deem as essentials: running water, heat, and electricity, others might regard as completely unattainable.
As the season of light approaches, we are honored and humbled to partner with an organization bringing light to those without access.: Watts of Love.
The True Cost of Light
The poorest people in the world spend roughly 10-25% of their annual income on lighting, significantly more than the rest of the world. Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa have relied on expensive and toxic kerosene lamps to light their homes, placing a financial burden on their household and putting family members at risk for serious burns and respiratory issues.
In addition to its harmful financial and physical impact, kerosene is also causing harm to our environment.
Kerosene lamps emit 230 million tons of CO2 into the air each year [Solar Aid Impact Report Autumn, 2014]. In fact, one kerosene lamp alone emits up to 200kg of CO2 a year. Unlike other forms of oil, kerosene omits black carbon — the second-largest climate warmer after CO2 [UNEP] and is a dominant contributor to climate change. Kerosene alone accounts for around 60 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions [United Nations, 2019].
In response, Watt of Love has developed a high-quality, patented solar light that is being distributed for free to families living in extreme poverty. This incredible solar light was designed by the organization’s founder, a mother of five with no engineering background, but with an inspiration to help the poor.
Watts of Love is using its technology to not only reducing the number of harmful toxins emitted into the environment, they are also shifting the economic and social landscape for many families around the globe by providing an alternative to kerosene lighting.
Innovation in Action
Watts of Love's innovative solar light was awarded a US Patent for its innovative design in 2020 after multiple design refinements and years of field testing among diverse populations living in the harshest conditions.
The Multi-Wear Light strap can be used in multiple ways: as a lanyard, overhead light, flashlight, or headlamp. Each light has four settings –a dim, long lasting night light; the highest setting 275 lumens (over 188% brighter than kerosene) for manual work or reading; and a strobe setting for safety alerts. The light itself is portable so it can be charged while walking or working, and small so it can be easily concealed against theft.
The product has a raised power button to accommodate vision impaired, and a wide push/hold function for those without fingers. The polycrystalline solar panel charges a 2AH Lithium-ion battery that can last up to 120 hours on the lowest setting and is stronger than the iPhone 8 battery.
Solar Light's Transformative Value
While the technology is impressive, the transformative value of the Watts of Love Multi-Wear light rests in the way the lights are distributed. Trained Watts of Love partners deliver lights along with a unique financial literacy curriculum to help educate families on how to reinvest funds otherwise spent on kerosene or candles to increase their household wealth. Recipients are able to map out a plan to reinvest their fuel savings (approximately $155/year or 10-20% of their annual disposable income) – to purchase livestock, launch a business or send a child to school.
Cost-free lighting helps families extend their productive time at home working or studying, and lets them reallocate precious financial resources to wealth-building initiatives that can lift them out of extreme poverty. Additionally, Watts of Love Solar lights eliminate the negative health, safety, and environmental effects of kerosene or other solid lighting fuels.
Your time to Shine
In this season of giving, Loop & Tie is thrilled to feature Watts of Love in our #GivingTuesday Collection. As you're sending out your holiday or end of year appreciation gifts, please consider sending your gift in the form of a donation. For more ways to join the efforts to reduce dependency on kerosene through solar lighting, please consider reaching out to Watts of Love for more ways to volunteer.