In Cambodia, French non-profit association LumiÃ¨res sur le MÃ©kong â€“ or Lights on the Mekong â€“ has been using renewable energy to try and provide an alternative to kerosene lamps as study aids.
The organization provides solar panels to schools in rural Cambodia, where around 90 percent of the country’s poor and near-poor live, according to the World Bank.
These panels are used to power lamps and batteries in schools, as well as charge portable lamps that children can take home to use as study aids. Pupils bring the lamps â€“ which are provided by LumiÃ¨res sur le MÃ©kong and manufactured by Khmer Solar â€“ back to school the next day to re-charge.
“The aim of this action is to improve children’s level of education,” Laurent Talou, President of LumiÃ¨res sur le MÃ©kong, told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy. “It has been proved around the world that children with access to light have a better academic level than those who don’t,” he added.
Cambodia is a country still coming to terms with the genocide committed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge during the 1970s, but when it comes to education, a concerted effort is being made to improve the system and engender reform.
A World Bank administered program, the Cambodia-Education for All Fast Track Initiative, has seen more than 1,200 classrooms built, 11,000 teachers trained, and 900 ‘early childhood education programs’ established.
Yem Phal is a school director in Kambrodes, and has seen the benefits of the LumiÃ¨res sur le MÃ©kong project first hand. “Since students started using the Khmer Solar lamps at home, their studies have significantly improved,” he said.
“They can study anywhere that suits them – under or outside their mosquito nets, in and under their houses or under the trees,” he added.
“If we didn’t offer them electric power for charging the lamps, they wouldn’t be so keen on their home studies.”
Originally from CNBC