Solar lamps for disaster relief

Elephant Energy, a not-for-profit organization that works to increase access to energy in Namibia, distributed solar-powered lighting and charging technologies to flood victims in six regions of Namibia in July and August 2011, as part of the Namibia Flood-Relief Energization Plan.  Elephant Energy then assessed the benefits of these technologies in a disaster situation by conducting surveys with the lamps’ users. The surveys show that clean energy technologies can provide great benefits in the disaster-relief context.

The 2010-2011 floods were unprecedented in their intensity and extent, displacing tens of thousands of people throughout six Northern Regions, including the Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Kavango and Caprivi Regions. Flood victims lacked access to modern energy sources in flood camps as well as when they were able to return to their homes.

Elephant Energy distributed 2,280 energy products, from inexpensive solar-powered light bulbs to multifunctional solar-powered lamp/cell phone chargers, to flood victims in need. The project targeted the most vulnerable populations within the camps: school-going children; disabled people; children, adults and elderly people with special needs or circumstances; orphans; and child-headed households.

Elephant Energy conducted baseline surveys before the products were distributed and follow-up surveys at the end of the project. Testimonials from flood victims confirmed the staggering impact of these technologies on the daily lives of flood victims: children studied into the night, money was earned, snake attacks were prevented and hours of productive time were added to each day. Access to clean energy technologies fundamentally changed the lives of product recipients.

Elephant Energy received a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the Namibia Flood-Relief Energization Plan, with a goal to assess and address the energy needs of flood victims in Northern Namibia.