Interview: Illac Diaz

Training workshops on solar lighting for children

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, May 24, 2015

DUBAI: As part of the global initiative of the “Liter of Light”, a series of workshops for schoolchildren will begin in the UAE to teach them about the solar lighting and make them part of the initiative to provide lighting solutions in the world.
This was stated by Illac Diaz, founder of the Liter of Light initiative in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today on the sidelines of the 12th CSR Summit held in Dubai recently.
Diaz for Liter of Light initiative has also won the Zayed Future Energy Award 2015 in the category of non-profit organisation.

His initiative to provide solar light started in the Philippines in 2011, and has now spread to 20 countries around the world. It has been providing lighting solutions in places where people are living without electricity.
The foundation with the support of PepsiCo has started the project to utilise used plastic bottles, solar panels and LED light bulbs to produce enough light for a household for six to eight hours as one such bottle costs around $1.5 and could last four to eight years.
The UN has declared 2015 as “Year of the Light” and to provide more people with light solutions, the Liter of Light is going to start school training workshops in the UAE to train around 500 students from different schools on making basic circuit for a panel of solar light. “These 500 solar lights to be made by local students will be installed in remote areas where the electricity is not available and will be remembered as a part of social service from the UAE to making a difference,” he said.
“The interesting thing right now is that to move into another phase and be financially sustainable to not depend on one-time donation but to consistently move the programme if the donation is stopped. With the support of PepsiCo, we are working as a social enterprise as it is the new direction to teach local people and use local resources for sustainable lighting solutions in places where the project is going on,” Diaz added.
“Since then, 480,000 lights in 20 countries around the world have been installed while the foundation has shared the technology through internet and other platforms to benefit people as currently 1.5 billion people around the world are without electricity,” he said.
“The Liter of Light has devised a two-year Social Enterprise Plan to train local people and use local material to make this programme more sustainable,” he added.
According to him, it takes five months by a factory in China or India to produce solar panels in bulk while further three to four  months are spent to get clearance through customs and other logistics. Around 60 per cent of the allocated funds are spent on logistics, taxes and management.
Noha Hefny, Corporate Affairs Director, Middle East and Africa pointed that “companies should support social innovators, as these are the people who through their unique ideas bring changes in their communities and in the world. The PepsiCo has been supporting such innovators and the great example is the Liter of Light project which has ben providing solar light solution to not its community but also in the world. It is the gift of light from the PepsiCo and the foundation to the people living without the lights,” she said.
She also pointed that the firm has been engaged in a number of activities with different government and departments and others to provide support in education, training for young entrepreneurs and helping start ups.


~ by jamilkhan on May 24, 2015.

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