We met Peter Muchinja at the entrance of his compound happily welcoming us, his wife Rose- not far behind him. They had been busy putting the chicken back in their coop as the sun was setting. Their children were helping them put back the other animals into the shed. Mr. Muchinja is a scrap metal collector, and small scale farmer. He and his wife Rose have 3 sons. Alex, the eldest-is in his 3rd year of high school, Douglas the second born is in 6th grade, and the youngest is a shy yet bubbly Vincent who is in kindergarten. Peter purchased a solar lamp for his family in 2016 as a result of being overwhelmed by the cost of using kerosene for lighting in the home. In a week, he would spend between $0.8- $1.5 on kerosene.
The expenses were not the only frustrating factor for the family- the fumes emanating from the kerosene lamp led to irritation of the eyes due to poor lighting as well as coughing. The trip to purchasing the kerosene was not any easier as they would be required to walk about 10 kilometers to purchase kerosene from the town center. When Peter met our officer and learnt about the solar lamp- he did not hesitate and immediately paid a deposit for the product. The family experienced an instant difference beginning with the lighting. The solar lamp served a myriad of purposes ranging from lighting while cooking, inspecting the animal sheds, to usage as lighting for evening meetings at neighbors’ homes.
When asked about the benefits they have experienced from using the solar lamp, Mr. and Mrs. Muchinja’s faces lit up and they almost answered at the same time, “It has reduced our expenses!” Rose adds that she enjoys the fact that she can cook in the evening quite conveniently. While speaking with the children, they were quick to emphasize that the solar lamp has helped them improve on their studies. Douglas who is the second born, went up 9 positions in terms of performance at school. This, he attributes to having time in the evening to do his homework and read comfortably. The same sentiments were shared by his elder brother Alex, and younger brother Vincent.
Patrick Muchinja is now looking forward to purchasing a multi-lighting system having experienced the benefits of one solar lamp. This is something he had never imagined possible, however with the saving from costs of purchasing kerosene, he now has a little more purchasing power.
At GIVEWATTS, our focus is helping families uphold their dignity. we give families like the Muchinjas the opportunity to enhance their lives in that they can do away with fossil fuel for cooking and lighting by using clean energy products, thus saving time and money from walking long distances to charge their phones and buying kerosene or fetching firewood that is expensive over time. With these savings families can invest in other necessities thus enhancing their way of life.
By eradicating energy poverty, families can work on digging their way out of poverty.