This blog was published on February 23, 2023
More than 700 million people across the world don’t have access to energy. These people not only cannot light their homes to work, prepare meals or have their children do their homework after dark. They are also excluded from other services that are powered by electricity like refrigeration to preserve their food or media to provide them with news, public information or entertainment.
There are many types of solar home systems available in off-grid communities. The most affordable include multiple lights and the possibility to charge phones. Others include radios or TVs. TVs are a very sought-after appliance that contributes to informing citizens and shaping public opinion. Radios also fulfil that function, with the added advantage of being portable, so farmers working in the field, for example, can take them with them. This way, they can stay up-to-date on current affairs and be alerted of developments that might affect them, like extreme weather, changes in crop prices or the arrival of pests or diseases.
More than 140.000 radios were sold in the first half of 2022 by GOGLA affiliates. SunKing, Zola Electric, Bboxx, Baobab+, Qotto and d.light are some of the companies offering them as part of their kits. RDG, an off-grid solar company working in Zambia that includes radios in one of their solar home systems, witnessed the impact of radio when the country held their general election in 2021, which led to the formation of a new government: “Radio (and TV) inform people about current issues. They understand them better and can make informed decisions to vote based on this information, playing their part in a democratic society. We have just had a peaceful transition of power in Zambia, and radio has played a fundamental part.”
Image: Sun King