Somaliland: Solar Powered Bulbs Light Darkened Homesteads
By: Yusuf M HasanNo Kerosene
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Residents of some rural and urban communities in Somaliland are now utilizing solar power as their main and only source of electricity.
According to Ms Asha Khalid 37, thanks to the portable solar bulbs sold by Guul Group-GG her 12 years son Master Hussein who is a 5th grade pupil can now do his homework at ease thus an improvement in his academic grades.
Hussein Adan who is one of the brightest students in Obsiye, used to struggle with studies in his darkened home due to lack of sufficient light as he mostly relied on the one kerosene lamp the family owned thus in great demand, but after his parents brought home the GG supplied solar bulbs things have improved rapidly for him especially at school.
"Apart from the brightness in our home, the solar powered bulbs have also negated the eye soreness our children used to perpetually complain about says the Asha Khalid who became a celebrity in her rural home in Togdeer region after she became the first to own the Guul Group Solar powered bulbs.
12 years old Hussein Adan uses GG solar bulbs to do his 5th grade homeworkInforming that she always wished for such as a solar powered bulb without having ever seen one the mother of four says that she decided to buy four bulbs at a cost of $15 each after a demonstration by Guul Group sales teams in Burao town where she had gone to sell 2 goats with proceedings meant for her family's month long dry rations.
Said she, "I made the decision impulsively as we boarded the truck back to Obsiye other women kept asking me why I had not bought food for the family and my response was to touch the fragile bundle on my lap"
With her main worry not the non-purchase of basic items she had gone for but her husband's wrath she was lucky to arrive at her village at the onset of darkness thus light one of her bulbs which shone like a street lamp in the dark shopping centre"
"This was my salvation for instead of condemnation I was welcomed like the queen that the Guul group bulbs ultimately made me" said a smiling Asha.
As for her son Hussein, Now the 5th grade pupil can benefit from the solar bulbs Guul Group sells across the country. Hussein hopes the new bulb will light the way to his goal of becoming a teacher. "The solar-powered bulb is really a great help in finishing my schoolwork, particularly after sunset," he explains, sitting at the table where he studies in the family's mud-brick home in Obsiye, some 100km south of Burao, Somaliland's second capital.
After attending school, the 12-year-old spends the afternoons working with his father and two brothers on the family's three-hectare grain field; only having time to complete his homework in the evening, after sunset.
"I am happy that the Guul Group solar bulb has eased my study and doing school assignments has become easier," Hussein says, smiling.
Promotion of usage of solar energy among pupils in Somaliland, who are future drivers of the country, will clearly send a No more darkness even in rural areas of Somalilandmessage to them that in this country renewable energy has massive potential; raising awareness of alternative energy resources, in order to reduce their dependency on the power grid and kerosene whilst improving environmental conditions through clean energy technology. This vast potential remains untapped because of lack of recognition, low investment in renewable energy technology & research, and poor adaptation of technology to local needs,
Not only has Guul Group's solar bulbs lit up education but small businesses as well
The country's government is trying to tackle one of the unintentional consequences of growing power problems in Somaliland – the poor performance of students who cannot study at home – with Guul Group providing alternatives to help high-scoring students like Hussein.
BETTER, BRIGHTER, CHEAPER and CLEANER; Solar bulb
The Guul Group solar bulb combines the best in solar and LED technology to create a superior, yet affordable solar light. It's made to last with up to 10,000 hours of LED light lifespan. The clear globe is made from the same shatter-resistant polycarbonate used in car headlights, and its high-temperature battery ensures it will charge efficiently even in the world's hottest weather. Affordable, safe, sustainable and a healthy alternative to kerosene. The light cast from a kerosene lamp is poorly distributed, has a low intensity and is expensive. The poor lighting levels from kerosene lamps makes it difficult for children to study, affecting literacy and education, and minimizes the effective working hours for income generating activities. The open flame, smoke and soot from kerosene lamps endanger lives by reducing indoor air quality and increasing the likelihood of fire.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) report that there are over 300,000 deaths every year from burns
• Nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year: similar to the number who are diagnosed with AIDS each year.
• More children die from fire related injuries than fatalities from tuberculosis or malaria.
Solar Bulbs mean more Business and income
Beauty care at night with GG Solar powered bulbsThanks to our solar lights, the likes of Amina in Hargeisa can benefit most and can work extra hours a night to generate more income for her 6 children and herself. Amina currently pays 4,000 Somaliland shillings per night for electricity in the market, equivalent to $222 annual savings. This money that could be used for food and medicine is spent on fuel instead. With quality solar light, a family can continue being productive – cooking, studying, earning extra money for the family – into the night. Each Solar bulb costs $15, portable with no strings attached; you just display and play (or work on this occasion). 6-8 hours of light during the night. It operates automatically from its light sensor so saving more energy. Of using disposable dry cell batteries therefore decreases the risk of contamination.
In the 2012 report by the World Bank, Doing Business in Hargeisa, access to electricity is the biggest obstacle for enterprise in the region, compared to corruption and tax administration, 21.5%, 7% and 2.1% respectively. Since 2010 the group has sold 2.4 million energy saving light bulbs through GK Businesses which operates in the UK, to over 100 customers from more than 33 countries including Holland, Poland, Greece, Japan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Russia. Customers included multiplex construction firms, international traders & exporters. GK Businesses had taken advantage of a small window of opportunity and a UK government subsidy which was to provide energy saving bulbs to every household in the UK.
"This partnership illustrates our commitment to alternative energy, combating climate change, sustainability and green growth. Our green products include cutting-edge solar technologies that are 1) practical, 2) affordable, and 3) Intuitive." GG's partners are at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution, using ingenuity and innovation to harness sunlight's ubiquity & employ it in ways that will potentially change the lives of the 1.3 billion people living without access to electricity around the world.
A socially enterprising product that focuses on providing affordable lighting specifically for low income populations that do not have access to electricity Guul Group (GG) is on a mission bring affordable, renewable and efficient lighting to 500,000 people in Somaliland by the end of 2014 & 3.5 million people across the Horn of Africa by 2017 and help eradicate energy poverty.
A business that invests, continuously seeks investment opportunities, provides forward thinking services whilst striving to ensure that there is a great push for Corporate Social Responsibility. The Group's vision for an environmentally friendly and sustainable growth is guided by strong values of trust, credibility, quality, integrity and transparency. Guul Group recognises that we are all custodians of the environment and is committed to playing a purposeful role in reforestation as well encouraging a greater use of solar energy. One of our strategic pillars is 'Green Guul', with a priority to ensure the environmental and socially responsible development of new industries and to boost local value edition.
Guul Group is a corporation that has a sizeable portfolio and is operating across a range of sectors that include agriculture, livestock, and consultancy. It has striven to establish and bolster trade within Somaliland, Somalia and the rest of the Horn of Africa. Drawing upon extensive local knowledge, experience and contacts it is well placed to facilitate investment and commercial activity with impact.