Users of the kits will be able to read, study, cook, bathe, clean, and pray at night. When surveyed by the World Bank, Zambians reported the #1 improvement they wanted for their households was better lighting. The top reason for this was to enable their children to do schoolwork. Better lighting extends the learning hours for students, improving educational achievement. Also, evidence suggests that providing the kits to schools may improve the conditions sufficiently to encourage teachers to remain at remote schools. A portion of savings generated by displacing kerosene and candles will purchase additional school supplies, further supporting education.
Users of the kits will save dramatically by no longer buying kerosene and candles. Kerosene lamps and candles are ~100 times less efficient for producing light than conventional lamps. Compounding this, kerosene fuel is very expensive in remote locations given shipping costs with poor roads.
Consequently, the cost of using kerosene for light can be orders of magnitude the cost of grid-powered light. For low-income families, this consumes a meaningful share of their income that can now be liberated. Also, low-income families would no longer be exposed to the volatility of international prices.
Financial Literacy Training
Providing financial literacy training is intended to promote farming businesses and help families manage their pocketbook. An estimated 65% of Zambians have no access to financial services. Helping to establish a bank account will “bank the unbanked” to further advance incomes, not least due to Zambia’s ~7% inflation rate and high interest rates.
Cell Phone Charging
The Lemnis kit will additionally provide users with a low cost way to power their mobile phones. Many parts of Zambia that lack grid electricity do have wireless cell phone networks. Users can use their mobile phones to get real time pricing information to market their agricultural goods. Mobile phones already function as an efficient payment mechanism in Zambia.
Cleaner Air and Less Fire
Replacing smoky and polluting kerosene lanterns will alleviate respiratory disease, especially among children. The low levels of light cast by kerosene lamps causes the child to sit very close, exacerbating the child’s exposure to the soot, volatile organic compounds, and burns. Open-flame kerosene lamps and candles are a fire hazard too.