Lahore: Coca-Cola Pakistan in collaboration with Buksh Foundation has electrified 10 off-grid villages in the Sahiwal District of Punjab via the solar energy project, Lighting a Million Lives (LaML). Through this initiative a population of 2,500 individuals has been impacted while creating 10 female solar energy entrepreneurs thus directly promoting female empowerment in rural communities, increasing labour force and stirring a new form of economic activity at the bottom of the pyramid.
Fighting the energy poverty state in these villages, the project enables economically disadvantaged women in rural areas to become micro entrepreneurs endorsed by the name of “Roshna Bibi – The Light Lady”. These light ladies charge lanterns during the day and then rent each lantern out at Rs 4 per day. This enables the villagers to work till late thus generating sustainable income and facilitating children to study at night. Farmers now work after dusk which enables them to look after their crops for a longer period of time.
Most importantly, the dispensaries and health care benefit the most thus substantially decreasing the female and child mortality rates in these areas. Speaking about the partnership, Fahad Qadir, Director Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola Pakistan and Afghanistan stated: “Through this partnership Coca-Cola and Buksh Foundation have demonstrated that in a country where there is lack of female empowerment, a simple thing as providing families with solar lanterns can empower communities and enhance their ownership in successful projects like these.”
Ms Fiza Farhan, CEO of Buksh Foundation states: “The project with its multifold benefit model, has not only helped in providing a sustainable energy alternative, but has also encouraged female empowerment, increased economic capacity of the rural areas, created literacy about the needs for environmental friendly energy alternatives and the benefits they provide.”
Coca-Cola Pakistan has made significant contributions to various community development projects in Pakistan through its CSR initiatives. Their CSR Portfolio consists of sustainable agriculture, environment and water conservation, women economic empowerment, education as well as philanthropic efforts such as relief efforts and various other social projects around the country.
Partnership in the LaML project is Coca-Cola Pakistan’s first initiative towards rural energy provision in the country, which proclaims a multifold benefit model around the village community. Through LaML 72 villages in the districts of Sahiwal, Mianwali, Lodhran, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Bahawalpur and Chiniot have already been electrified impacting approximately 25,000 lives in total. The project plans to light 4,000 villages and impact 1 million lives in the next 3 years in Pakistan, with some of the recent scheduled projects include electrifying the villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.