Solar Lamps for Health and Wealth is a promotional campaign funded under the Presidential Initiative Program of the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University. The main goal of the campaign is to promote the use of solar lamps among households in Uganda.
The campaign specifically targets households that use paraffin lamps—traditionally called tadoobas—as a source of light. Paraffin lamps create both a financial burden in providing fuel and a serious health risk from lamp emissions. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics has reported that approximately 17% of the income from people in rural areas is spent on paraffin and dry cells annually. The use of solar lamps as alternatives to traditional lamps presents people with a chance to save money by using technology that requires low operational costs. Additionally, solar lamps give off a better light that is several times brighter and healthier than the traditional lamps.The continuous use of tadoobas also cause respiratory complications from the emissions of particulate matter and black carbon due to inefficient combustion. Poor lighting from the paraffin lamps further causes eye strain which increases stress and fatigue. Students who use paraffin lamps to study at night find that the poor light causes eye fatigue, headaches and poor posture.
The two graphs below compare the long-term costs of solar lamps versus traditional lamps. and the lumens of light (a measure of perceived power from a light source) emitted by each lamp type per dollar spent.
The goals of the Solar Lamps for Health and Wealth campaign include:
- Creating awareness about the importance of replacing kerosene lamps with solar lamps
- Increasing the number of solar lamp users nationwide
- Improving accessibility of solar lamps by establishing rural solar kiosks in schools and communities
- Boosting the solar technologies’ sector by marketing genuine solar company products
The above goals will be achieved through the following activities:
- Establishing a solar PV laboratory at CREEC to provide quality assurance for solar products and to facilitate research and trainings in different solar technologies
- Sensitizing children in primary, secondary and vocational schools about the benefits of using solar lamps
- Launching media campaigns
- Conducting community mobilization activities
- Constructing solar kiosks that will be used as solar centers to improve access to solar lamps
Through the Solar Lamps for Health and Wealth campaign, CREEC will ease access to a cost effective, portable and renewable-based energy solution that will not only improve people’s health but will also reduce their living costs.