07 August 2013, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization, APO, CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa — DHL (http://www.dhl.com), the world’s leading logistics company, often uses its dedicated network to deliver hope for those in need. Recently, the company has been using its logistics expertise to deliver ‘light’ to thousands of people in Sub Saharan Africa.
“Studies by organisations including the United Nations indicate that over 1.6 billion people still don’t have access to light; 30% of whom live in Africa,” says Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa. “Using solar powered technology to give these people access to light is not just sustainable but also healthy, compared to conventional fuel sources. We have therefore partnered with two ‘light-giving organisations’ – Little Sun and Solar without Borders – on a pro-bono basis to provide much-needed solar-powered light to people in Sub Saharan Africa.
Little Sun is a social business that produces Little Sun lamps and distributes them worldwide by establishing sustainable trade routes, allowing off-grid distributors to make a profit while bringing light to local users.
“To date Little Sun runs active projects in six African countries, and pilot projects are under way across Africa and in South East Asia,” says Felix Hallwachs, CEO of the project. “Together with our partners we have brought 25000 solar lamps to users in Africa, in a trade-not-aid system that empowers all participants. Working with DHL is an opportunity to engage a strong and large partner into the Little Sun network, supporting the beginning of further distribution projects. DHL is contributing to kick-starting long-term sustainable development opportunities.”
DHL Express is supporting Little Sun by moving 4,000 lamps to Ethiopia and South Africa from Germany as part of Deutsche Post DHL’s activities around the United Nations World Environment Day.
In a similar move, the courier company has also partnered with Solar Without Borders, a Belgian non-profit organisation. After executing all kinds of solar projects from Guatemala to Mongolia, Solar Without Borders have combined their expertise and developed the ‘Solar Kiosk’, a central solar installation per village where 100 self-developed solar lamps can be charged.
“In this way we want to provide the most vulnerable people with decent, affordable and environmentally-friendly lighting,” says Gilles Loobuyck, the project manager in Sierra Leone. “After offering local training, the solar system and solar lamps can be made locally. Beside ‘getting people out of the dark’, Solar Without Borders aims to encourage the transfer of knowledge, creates employment and stimulates entrepreneurship.”
“Giving back to the African communities is not just a slogan for us at DHL Express,” concludes Rahavendra. “Both Little Sun and Solar without Borders have great products that they are looking to distribute across Africa. Incidentally, international express distribution is what we do best; a great marriage of a product and service to benefit the communities we serve.”