Powering Communities: Securing Energy in Developing Nations

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Posted on 8/16/2013
Children in Liberia use a hand-held solar light to study.
Children in Liberia use a hand-held solar light to study.

Millions of families living in the world's poorest countries often have to survive with little or no access to reliable power. Without electricity, families may struggle to heat their homes during the winter, store food and complete other tasks that many people in developed nations take for granted. In rural areas, the need to supply homes with power is a considerable challenge, which is why the World Bank recently approved a project to build a hydroelectric dam that will benefit people living in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Steps Toward a Brighter Future

The initiative will benefit approximately 62 million people across Africa's Great Lakes region. The World Bank has approved $340 million in funding for the project, which will provide reliable, affordable power to homes, businesses and medical centers throughout the region.

"The Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project takes a regional approach to tackling sub-Saharan Africa's power crisis, providing low-cost, clean, renewable energy to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania," says Jamal Saghir, director for sustainable development in the Africa region for the World Bank. "The new power plant signals the Bank's commitment to keeping the lights on across the African continent, necessary for achieving growth, ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the region."

Bringing Light to Homes

Although large-scale projects like the Rusumo Falls dam are one way to solve energy problems for families living in poverty, smaller initiatives can also have a significant impact.

Last year, ChildFund launched a project to provide non-toxic lights to children in need and their families living in Liberia. We achieved our goal of raising $6,000, and working with Nokero, a company specializing in solar-powered lighting solutions, we provided safe, reliable lights to families and schools in Klay Town, enabling children to study in a safe environment. Before this project was launched, many children were forced to study by the light of kerosene lamps, which sometimes produce harmful fumes. Now, children in Klay Town can learn safely.

In Mexico, ChildFund has teamed up with Uncharted Play to distribute Soccket balls to households in Puebla and Oaxaca. Socckets look like ordinary soccer balls, but they emit light for three hours after being kicked around for 30 minutes. It's an innovative way to provide a necessary resource — light — and a valued toy.

ChildFund works around the world to help children where the need is greatest. To make a difference in the life of a child, consider becoming a child sponsor. For just $28 per month, or $35 to sponsor a child in the United States, you can help us provide food, clothing and other essentials to a boy or girl living in poverty. Your support enables us to fight child poverty across the globe and will make a lasting difference in the life of families in the world's poorest countries.