2,000 solar lanterns donated to rural communities near Nairobi as part of campaign inspired by Sheikh Zayed

2,000 solar lanterns donated to rural communities near Nairobi as part of campaign inspired by Sheikh Zayed
Published: 6 January 2019 - 5 a.m.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize’s “Guiding Light” global campaign has arrived in Kenya, with 2,000 solar lanterns to be donated to rural communities near Nairobi.

Guiding Light is a global sustainability and humanitarian campaign organised and funded by the Zayed Sustainability Prize and runs from 5th December 2018 to 9th January 2019. The campaign, launched in Bahrain, on 5th December 2018 will oversee donation of 10,000 lanterns in honour of UAE founding father’s sustainability and humanitarianism legacy

To highlight the arrival of the campaign in each of the participating countries, the solar lanterns are arranged into a 20x20 metre, outdoor light installation, revealing the Zayed Sustainability Prize logo. Following these events, the lanterns are then distributed to communities where there is limited or no access to on-grid power.

Inspired by the sustainability and humanitarian legacy of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Zayed Sustainability Prize is the UAE’s pioneering global award for recognising innovative and inspirational sustainability solutions that deliver human impact. Over the last 11 years, 66 winners have been recipients of the Prize and, collectively, these winners have, directly or indirectly, impacted the lives of over 318 million people.

As with all the light installation events being held outside of the final event in the UAE, which takes places on 9th January, the on-the-ground organisers are also previous winners of the Prize. In Kenya, the event is being run in partnership with 2013 Prize winner, d.light – a global leader and pioneer in delivering affordable solar-powered solutions.

Following Kenya’s light installation, the solar lanterns were distributed to three off-grid schools and a public health centre in the towns of Kiserian and Ngong, in Kajiado County. They are the Iseuri Primary School, AIC Primary School, Olekajuado Boys Primary School and Ilbisil Health Centre. Both towns are off-grid communities approximately 40-50 kilometres West of Nairobi.

2013 Prize winner, d.light, is a social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products targeting people who have no access to energy. Founded in 2004, and based out of the US, the majority of d.light’s operations are active in the developing world.

According to d.light, a total of 1,750 students attend all three schools, so the majority of lanterns will go to the schools with 30-40 set aside for the Health Centre. The clinic currently has a total of 24 beds, with 12 specifically designated for maternity and neo-natal care. According to the Health Centre statistics, over the period of one year, approximately 2,190 inpatients and 16,060 outpatients will benefit from the donation of these solar-powered lights.

After Kenya, the global campaign will conclude in the Prize’s home country of the United Arab Emirates, with a light up event scheduled for 9th January 2019, at Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Director of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “We are proud to partner with 2013 winner d.light to extend solar-powered lights to low-income communities in Kenya, which will significantly improve the safety, productivity and quality of life for students and health centre visitors. The benefits that these technologies offer developing countries cannot be overstated. Access to light is a pathway toward economic and social development.”

Founder and CEO of d.light, Ned Tozun, said: “The Zayed Sustainability Prize has been an incredible partner for us over the years, since we were awarded the Prize, in 2013. We are proud to be partnered with the Zayed Sustainability Prize [for the Guiding Light campaign] to make a positive impact in our local community through the donation of our solar products to those in need. Having access to solar lighting will enable students to extend the hours when they can study and to do their schoolwork in a safe and healthy environment. It will also enable the local health clinic to stay open in the evening and have a safer and better environment for healthcare delivery.”

Following the evolution of the Zayed Sustainability Prize from the Zayed Future Energy Prize, early last year, the 2019 awards will now include categories in Health, Food, Energy, Water, and Global High Schools. This demonstrates the Prize’s now closer alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UAE’s government’s own National Agenda 2021.

Winners of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at the awards ceremony, on 14th January, held during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2019.

The event will reach the United Arab Emirates on January 9.

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