Margaret is the director of Legacy School in Narok. It is one of the best performing schools in the county. It is also a private school (see here for an interesting article on the rise of private schools in the developing world: econ.st/HueqwX). She worked in the education authority in Narok for 20 years, helping to set up most of the schools in the county, before starting Liberty School.
Margaret has bought a number of solar products from SunnyMoney since the team arrived in Narok earlier this year. All of them have been sent to her mother in her home village. Margaret’s mother looks after two of her grandchildren. Initially the only light she sent was a Sunlite which has a 5W panel and one bright bulb. This was the only light in the village apart from kerosene lamps. The light attracted other family members and friends who live in the village to come over at night to benefit from the clean safe light. This was a problem for the two children because they needed to study, but couldn’t because of the noise. They would either not study at all, or still use kerosene lamps in another room. Hence Margaret sent a Sunlite 2 to her mother, so they now have 3 bulbs in the house – one in the living room for socialising, one in the kitchen for cooking, and one in the bedroom for studying.
Margaret went on to discuss the common result of having one light in a house – the father will use it, meaning the children cannot study with it. Hence while she approves of organisations which are giving away lamps to students, she believes they need to give out two because otherwise the students will not benefit from the light. Similarly, when SunnyMoney sells lamps in the student light campaign she believes we should be aiming to get more than one into each household. This is yet another issue for us to consider here at SolarAid, an important one. The impact of solar on education is difficult to measure even at school level, but home-use of study lamps is a major monitoring and evaluation challenge. More info on this will be available on SolarAid’s new website, coming soon.
Personally, I think the bottom line is to get more solar into rural communities. Whether it starts with one light, or ten, it doesn’t take long for people to see the real benefits of this technology.