Second only to agriculture, craft-making is the most common employment in rural areas worldwide. It tends to be seasonally-flexible, and can often be done from home, allowing women with limited child care options to nevertheless seek self-employment.
Delicate craft work, however, is often dependent on access to good tools and good light at home. Around 1.1 billion people worldwide are estimated to lack any electrical access, so safe light can undeniably boost the local economy, and expand opportunities for women to be self-employed.
A family in the British Virgin Islands learns together following Hurricane Irma
Solar lanterns provide the safe and sufficient lighting that is integral for craft-makers and self-employed artisans. These craft-makers and artisans also help keep cultural traditions alive, while growing the local economy. Women, who make up a major portion of artisans in rural areas worldwide, particularly benefit from tools that support craft-making activities. (Read more about Peace Corps volunteer Ian Gorecki’s trip to distribute lights to female artisans in Madagascar here.)
A man in Niger works after dark, though far from the grid
By supporting the flexibility, safety, and ease with which artisans can produce crafts, solar lights empower job creation. In addition to reducing household energy costs, access to solar lighting can improve an individual’s earning potential and help alleviate poverty in low-income communities.
In short, with light come opportunities for self-employment, empowerment, and the opportunity for growth.
The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise: Bringing Artisan Enterprise to Scale. Report. October 12, 2012. Accessed June 17, 2017.https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/images/Concept%20Paper%20AAE%20-%20FINAL.pdf.
United Nations Development Programme. “Delivering Sustainable Energy in a Changing Climate: Strategy Note on Sustainable Energy 2017-2021.” Report. 2016.