Across sub-Saharan Africa over 550 million people live without electricity, most of whom reside in rural areas, where a large majority of schools, health clinics and small business likewise suffer from lack of electrification. The results are predictable, dire, and far-reaching:
- Economic growth is stifled with micro-enterprises unable to power electronic devices (e.g., refrigerators, power tools, charging devices, etc.) or stay open past sunset.
- Educational opportunities are limited as students cannot study in the dark and schools cannot utilize information and communication technologies.
- The quality of health care suffers due to the inability of clinics to bank blood, store medicines, and operate medical equipment.
Through its partnership with Power-Blox AG and Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge, Lifeline is introducing a practical, scalable and carbon-free solution to this electrification gap through the deployment of innovative solar-powered energy cubes to small businesses in two of Uganda’s oldest refugee settlements (Kiryandongo and Rwamwanja) and the surrounding host communities.
Unlike other solar products, the Power-Blox units can be stacked one to another, similar to Legos. This unique feature enables users to grow their electrical capacities and to construct modular mini-grids across multiple structures and throughout an entire community. Lifeline is currently in the process of testing out and proving up its payment and marketing systems approach which, once perfected, can pave the way for deeper penetration of this energy access solution in refugee camps and rural communities across Uganda and beyond.