As often happens here at SolarAid, Bisi, an African agent of change, stumbled across SolarAid’s work and couldn’t help but get involved as she immediately saw the benefits of solar lamps, and the impact they could make to people in her community in Nigeria.
Bisi, now 76, understood at a very young age that the kerosene, firewood and coal used for cooking and lighting their homes were expensive and bad for their health. Use of generators, petrol and diesel is widespread in Nigeria and has many disadvantages including high cost, noise, healthcare issues and pollution. She has recently undergone a double cataract operation, which could be linked to prolonged use of kerosene lamps.
Having seen the damage kerosene and other fossil fuels can do, the indoor air pollution and fire risks they create, and the great need for change in Nigeria, she was keen to help eradicate kerosene use in favour of solar lighting and clean cooking stoves.
Bisi came in to visit us at SolarAid HQ and bought five SM100s to take with her on her next trip to Nigeria.
“It was hard to decide who to give them to” reported Bisi “I gave one to the king in my town, Ifo in Ogun State; one to a sister who is a teacher, who lives in Itire, Lagos State – so she could introduce solar to her students as well as her colleagues. I gave another to a cousin, who wanted me to come and talk about solar to people in her church.”
Bisi’s sister, Florence, spoke to us with some feedback on her SM100. She thought solar lights were a great solution to the toxic fumes produced by burning kerosene wood and charcoal. She highlighted how important it is to keep the price of solar lights as low as possible.
Bisi told us that the solar technology was new to the community; “We don’t know much about this” her cousin told her, but now, thanks to Bisi, information about solar and its benefits over kerosene and other fossil fuels is starting to spread across the Itire and Ifo regions of Lagos.
Whilst in Nigeria, Bisi was told about another solar organisation, our friends at Solar Sister. It turned out that a distant cousin of Bisi’s was a Solar Sister agent and they arranged for her to come to the community and demonstrate solar stoves.
Bisi is dedicated to getting more solar lights into Nigerian communities, she hopes to get phone-charging solar lights and other solar solutions into universities to help students study after dark and is working with her family to develop ideas about how more lights could be distributed.
Bisi is so passionate about solar she recently enrolled herself on a 4 day PV solar course in Wales and can now build solar panels!
Thanks for your support Bisi – the world needs more agents of change like you.