Energy Equity for Vulnerable Children in Burundi
This is a land of drop-offs and soil erosion, where farmers venture onto steep slopes to plant bananas and other staple crops, and where the scent of eucalyptus perfumes the air. For communities here, days are ruled by sunlight. Access to the electric grid is only for those privileged enough to live near the main road. Those whose homes are tucked away in the remote corners of Bururi province can walk as far as 15 km to charge a mobile phone - a costly, time-consuming exercise.
Energy poverty permeates every aspect of life here: Children study at night by kerosene lamps, mothers give birth in the dark by candlelight, and women fear going out of their homes after nightfall, lest a thief be hiding in the fields.
But for Diane, a ninth-grader in Muzima, a new project has just made studying at night a whole lot easier, and the days of struggling to make out her class notes already seem like a far-gone memory. Since April 2015, Diane and her younger brothers and sisters have a rechargeable, long-lasting LED lamp, part of UNICEF's strategy to introduce safe, affordable and renewable energy sources into the most vulnerable households.