By >Akihabara News Team
UNDP and Sanyo’s Humanitarian Commercialism
At the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in 2008, Sanyo introduced an Eneloop-brand LED lantern lantern with six-hour solar-charged Ni-MH resevoir for 20 hours of lighting, and started conducting field tests of the devices in Uganda in September, 2009. Last month, UNDP and Sanyo announced that they will start field testing in Kenya, where electricity infrastructure only covers about 10% of the rural population and kerosene is used widely as a light source in rural villages, to the detriment of fire safety and public health.
Bringing light to dark third-world villages means a longer time can be spent working and studying, which aid organizations say will allow poor, underprivileged communities to slowly join the first world. For people in Kenya, the solar lanterns will mean a cheaper – about $30US cheaper than a year’s supply of kerosene for an electric lantern with LEDs rated for over ten years – and safer – no fire hazards or danger of smoke inhalation – light source. For Sanyo, this project means a source of revenue, with the additional public image boost of a humanitarian twist that even this writer, a self-proclaimed anti-capitalist, has to nod sagely about.