Solar Lights are Changing Lives in Salalira

by | Feb 10, 2022 | LTBLI news and updates

Guest blog written by Olivia Owino, M&E and Training Consultant to LTBLI and Solar Health Uganda (based in Uganda).
Let There Be Light International’s maternal and infant health project, Safe Births and Healthy Homes (SB+HH), has changed the lives of many mothers and households in the Ugandan village of Salalira. Mothers who deliver at the local St. Mary’s Health facility receive safe solar lights for infant care at home after delivery.
Many homes use “tadooba” [open-flamed kerosene lamps] or candles for light, a dangerous and polluting source of light. Most low-income households in the area cannot afford to connect to grid electricity and thus have opted for the cheapest source of light they can afford. Some families cannot even afford to buy candles or kerosene and were left in the dark or were burning a local plant [see below] for their source of light. In the worst cases, some extremely impoverished mothers and babies go to sleep hungry and in the dark.

Most mothers [like all mothers around the world] constantly worry about the health of their young ones, especially the breathing problems [like asthma and pneumonia, a leading cause of under 5 morbidity] from the smoke and soot, risk of fire from the “tadoobas” and candles, and itchy eyes and eye infections from the smoke.

Now, solar lamps are transforming the homes of Safe Births + Healthy Homes participants. Besides providing safe and clean light, the lights have been a great contributor to the improved welfare in most homes. The money that was used to buy the kerosene or candles is now saved for other purposes.

Many of the beneficiary households in Salalira have been able to start income-generating activities with the savings. The endeavors include investing in tomato farming, (the families buy fertilizers and pesticides), beauty salons, fish selling, and other businesses. Some mothers say that the household nutrition has improved. Others report paying for basic necessities and school fees.

The community members in Salalira are grateful to Solar Health Uganda and Let There Be Light International for this project. Shine On!

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