In December 2019 Sonnedix marked the start of a partnership with ‘We Care Solar’, as part of our global sustainability strategy, to enable us to join global efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is Sonnedix’s second strategic partnership, alongside ‘One Tree Planted’.
Who is We Care Solar?
We Care Solar uses solar electricity to promote safe motherhood and reduce maternal mortality in developing regions, by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication, and medical devices.
Maternal mortality worldwide accounts for 300,000 deaths a year; 99 percent of these occur in underdeveloped countries. For every maternal death, at least 20 women suffer severe complications from childbirth.
Sporadic electricity impairs the operation of surgical wards, delivery wards, essential hospital equipment, and hospital communications. This compromises the ability of health workers to provide safe, appropriate and timely medical care. In response to this problem, We Care Solar designed a compact solar electric system that was portable and fit in a suitcase. The “We Care Solar Suitcase” powers overhead LED lighting, charges cell phones, and includes LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.
Over the past 10 years, We Care Solar’s Health programs have deployed 4,100 Solar Suitcases, served over 5 million mothers and newborns, and trained 16,000 health workers.
Sonnedix’ partnership with We Care Solar will support two campaigns; ‘Light Every Birth’ and ‘We Share Solar’.
Light Every Birth
We Care Solar is installing suitcases in maternal health centres in five countries with high rates of maternal mortality and high levels of energy poverty. These are Liberia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Suitcases are designed to be user friendly, long-lasting and reliable. Based on the data collected by We Care Solar, a maternity clinic experiences 200 deliveries per year, impacting 400 mothers and babies. With each solar suitcase having an initial lifespan of 5 years, this equates to an impact of 2000 mothers and babies in the first five years of just one solar suitcase.
In December 2019, Sonnedix donated funds to support 4 We Care Solar clinics, resulting on an impact of 8000 mothers and babies over the next 5 years.
We Share Solar
We Share Solar is an education programme using solar energy to aid both the education of solar energy itself, and to improve educational opportunities in Africa. Teachers in the US are trained to lead their students to build solar suitcases themselves. As they build, they learn about solar energy and electricity, and about global energy poverty. At the end of the build the students donate one of their classroom’s suitcases to a school in an energy-poor region of the world, to allow education to be enhanced in areas that purely rely on sunlight. The suitcases light up these classrooms, to allow teaching to continue.
Here’s a link to a recent video on the impact of We Share Solar in Kakuma: https://youtu.be/AQuC5vOHw2A
Since 2013, We Share Solar has trained 360 teachers in the STEM curriculum, engaged over 22,700 students in project-based Solar Suitcase learning and conducted 470 school-based or after-school programs throughout the United States, as well as Canada, Europe, Dominican Republic, Uganda and Kenya, providing light and power to over 217,000 students and community members in energy-scarce regions.
In December 2019, Sonnedix donated funds to support 6 We Share Solar suitcases, and we expect to improve the education experience of 1500 children in Africa (assuming 250 students per suitcase over 5 years). Also, students in the US will learn about solar energy through the program, and its importance in meeting global energy needs, increasing the impact further.