Education underpins the efforts to escape the cycle of poverty. For hundreds of millions of people their lives are hampered by darkness.

As I am sure many can testify, going to school is not enough without being able to revise and learn more from home. Sometimes this means studying after sunset, however many people are restricted by poor or no lighting, meaning children are unable to keep up with their education.

Imagine having to work work in the field, care for livestock, or do anything to help feed yourself and your family. By the time you get round to doing work, it is dark. Your only option is to use a kerosene lamp. A horrible flickering light, which produces a dark acrid smoke. You cough, but you have to finish your homework, knowing that a knock of the elbow could mean the end of your home…

Kerosene is the jet fuel used in aeroplanes. Even the aerospace industry is trying to move away from kerosene, due to its harmful, toxic fumes. Kerosene however, is shockingly the most traditional and only affordable lighting option for many around the world. Living in a home with just one kerosene lamp is equivalent to one person smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day!

Clean lighting has an infinite number of benefits and applies to everybody, everywhere. Without suitable sources of lighting businesses cease to trade after dark, limiting their productivity and dramatically impacting the economic development of the community. Solar lighting offers an 100% clean, environmentally friendly solution. Right Light lamps are cheaper, safer and much brighter than kerosene lamps. There is also no risk of toxic fumes, or fire.

A solar lamp costs around £15, which is simply unaffordable for a tremendous number of people. The rental price takes into consideration the financial accessibility of the poorest people in the community, meaning Right Light rents out the solar lamps at roughly 50% the cost of kerosene lamps, making the enterprise available to mostly everyone.

Helping to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

To ensure the continual supply of solar lamps, Right Light enterprises are owned and operated by a select group of people. The enterprise provides these people with a sustainable business. In less than 5 years the business should have completely repaid its loan and doubled its size. The nature of the business allows the entrepreneur to reinvest in more lamps and maintain the existing lamps, resulting in controlled scalability.

The model means that the product risk is held by the Right Light micro-enterprise and not the community. This allows the income generated to form the capital required to repair any faulty lamps, purchase next generation lamps or increase the entrepreneur's product portfolio.

The increased levels of education, health and economic opportunity result in a significant community impact, creating employment, more locally focussed businesses and community wealth.

Summary

 

The Right Light micro-enterprises tackle the dangerous use of kerosene in homes by setting up small businesses in the community that distribute solar lamps through a rental scheme. The lamps are locally price matched on kerosene, whilst considering the financial accessibility to the poorest in the community; as such the lamps are rented out at an average of 50% the price of kerosene.

Some Facts:

 

- Living in a house with kerosene can be equivalent to smoking up to 40 cigarettes per day
- Households in developing countries can spend as much as 20% of their income on kerosene
- A child's education is drastically linked to their ability to complete homework, which is only possible with adequate lighting at night

How Right Light Operates

 

Right Light operates on the WSV Social Franchise model. NGOs purchase a license for the business models, choosing to start with a pilot license or try-before-you-buy. The Right Light brand then provides training and step by step manuals, with the options for continual support and access to the franchise network.

How the Model Works

The Community Benefits

 

- Improved respiratory health in homes using solar lamps.
- Reduction in house fires.
- Night time visibility reduces violent attacks on women carrying the portable lamps.
- Affordable lighting priced lower than kerosene, increasing disposable income.
- Safe lighting for children to study at night.
- Improved light source and therefore vision.
- Limited risk as the lamps are owned by the micro-enterprise.
- No risk of mosquito nets catching fire from the kerosene, reducing the risk of mosquito related diseases such as malaria.
- A livelihood for the employees of the micro-enterprise.
- A scalable business owned by community members.
- Local and regional economic development from more educated young people.
- Local businesses open later, stimulating the local economy.