In the Nsanje District of Malawi, the poverty rate is 72% compared to the national average of 50.7%. Energy poverty is pervasive in this southernmost region of the country. Most residents of Nsanje lack access to electricity due to their distance from the national grid – it is too expensive to extend electricity to them. Frequently, when they can afford to, they turn to harmful alternative lighting sources to illuminate their homes, damaging their health, disfiguring their bodies, and consuming their severely limited incomes. Watts of Love’s solution to these problems in Nsanje is to provide solar lighting coupled with financial literacy training to the residents. With needed support from Sisters Rising Worldwide, Watts of Love will deliver life-changing solar lights coupled with financial literacy training to those living in the least-electrified regions of Malawi. Here, nearly half of all girls are sold into illegal child marriages to help ease severe financial burdens for struggling families. Providing light and financial literacy would help remedy this situation, too.
Sister Elizabeth is partnering with Watts of Love to focus on families and individuals living below the ultra-poverty line in the Nsanje District of Malawi and equip women and girls with life-changing solar lights and financial literacy training to combat exploitation. Through solar lighting and financial literacy training, recipients will eliminate dependence on toxic alternative lighting sources and extend their nighttime productivity, increase their savings and earnings and receive a gift much greater than a simple solar light: the gift of choice. When recipients are no longer squandering their incomes on alternative fuel and are no longer facing starvation which leads to various forms of exploitation in order to survive, they are empowered to make better and healthier choices for their personal well-being.
HOW WILL FUNDS BE USED
The funds will be used to purchase 1,000 solar lights to be distributed to families in Nsanje living below the ultra-poverty level. Funds will also be used to pay a living wage to local trainers who can provide the families with financial literacy training.
Proving solar light gives families 30% of their income back, a safe lighting alternative, and the opportunity for better education to help get them out of extreme poverty.
#74 – Bringing Hope Through Light to Nsanje, Malawi