The other week in the UK, headline news was the rising cost of commuter fares into London. The statistic that hit me wasn’t the increase - it was the average amount someone spends on travel getting into London which can be upto 15% of their income.
That number - 15% stood out. Because that’s the proportion a person in Kenya with no access to grid electricity spends on buying kerosene for lighting.
Now I commute to London from a town called Reading. If I had that travel cost taken away it would be Christmas come early, birthday and bonus all into one (not that I get a bonus or want one!). It’s the first time I personally began to see how huge 15% really is.
And that’s not even in the context of kerosene and the impact it would have on the lives of people. So what does ‘15%’ mean for someone in Kenya that uses kerosene every day for lighting?
If they could remove the burden of buying kerosene it would be transformational. Their disposable income will increase by 15%. They could use that extra income to buy what they liked : a better diet, medicines, towards their children’s education, maybe to start a small enterprise.
And the answer to no more kerosene? A solar light of course.
It doesn’t stop there with a cleaner better a safe light comes more time. Time children can invest in studying, time a family can use to run an enterprise, or time simply to socialise. It’s the one commodity we can’t get enough of.
That’s the power of the sun and a simple solar light.