Khadi is 13 years old. She is the daughter of Cheikh and Fatou and has two older brothers and four younger brothers and sisters. Khadi is very happy that her father agreed for her to stay on at school. She attends the local elementary school, which is two kilometres away from her home. She must wake up at 6:45am so that she can leave early for the long walk with her brother and sister. It takes her 45 minutes, but Khadi feels lucky as some of her friends must walk for up to two hours every morning. French is the primary language and curriculum at school. Khadi’s favourite subject is Science, and she dreams of becoming a teacher one day. When Khadi arrives home at 5.00 pm, the second part of her days begins: helping her mum. She helps in the kitchen to prepare the evening meal, and takes care of her baby sisters. Sometimes there is a need for more firewood so Khadi must help by going out to seek more. After serving dinner and helping to wash the dishes, Khadi does her homework. By now it is very dark so she relies on a battery torch that her father bought for her. The light is dim and her eyes often tire before she can complete her work. Other times, there is not enough money to buy batteries. Khadi loves to study and has many hopes and dreams.
A simple solar-powered lantern, easily left to charge in the sun while away at school during the day, would allow Khadi to benefit from quality light to study at night. A simple solution yet with a big impact on Khadi’s chances of succeeding at school and realising her dreams.
Impact of Solar Lights on education: Substantial evidence now exists to support the link between solar lighting and improvements in children’s education. Not only do solar lights save money compared to battery torches and kerosene lamps alternatives, but they have significant health benefits. “The Light Library project led by Sunnymoney in Senegal in 2013 found a significant impact on students from access to solar lighting. 48% of head teachers said they had noticed improved school results since the project began nine months earlier. 29% talked about having noticed the children studying more and in better conditions, 12% talked about the students being more motivated and interested to learn. On the whole, the headteachers remarked that there had been improvements in attendance, motivation, concentration and performance”.
To learn more read:
A Guide to the Light Library Model: lesson, results and recommendations from the field: Senegal; Sunnymoney. Available here.
Energy poverty impacts on girls’ education: Just 27% of girls enrol in secondary education in Senegal, resulting in a ranking of 117 out of 127 countries in the Education for All Index. Energy poverty contributes to this problem, particularly in rural areas, where girls traditionally leave school early to help their mothers with the labour-intensive domestic burden. “Young girls are often called on to assist their mothers in physically demanding fuel collection and cooking activities, preventing them from regular school attendance…” (Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves)
To learn more read:
UNESCO Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education – One Year On. Available here
Igniting Change: A Strategy for Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels; Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Available here