Scotland Lights Up Malawi is a project dedicated to issues of climate justice and poverty in Malawi. Working in collaboration with Keep Scotland Beautiful, this campaign delivers solar lights for the most disadvantaged communities in Malawi and engaging them in the issue of renewable energy.
Keep Scotland Beautiful is a charity involved in climate change and environmental education, and is coordinating the Lights Up Malawi project to continue the historic, cultural and political links between Scotland and Malawi.
The transition to solar lights will deliver enormous benefit to schoolchildren, allowing them to complete their homework after dark. SolarAid research shows that 85% of head teachers have seen a improvement in performance and attendance at school in students with solar lights. The lights can be of particular benefit to girls, who may be expected to complete household chores before school work.
Only 9% of Malawi’s population has access to the electricity grid. Without these renewable lights, people would use kerosene as a fuel source, which has both health benefits and damaging effects on the environment. In its lifetime, a solar light averts 500kg of carbon dioxide emissions, and saves a family 10% of its household income every year.
I spoke about this issue when I was a new MSP in relation to rural Bangladesh, and I am delighted to see this initiative. The campaign is also working to promote climate justice in both Malawi and Scotland, through both the Malawian Renewable Energy Association and the Eco-Schools Scotland Programme.
So far the campaign has delivered over 100,000 solar lights across Malawi, but much more can be done. To learn more, or to donate to this project, click here.