PH-based NGO spreads renewable energy education worldwide with Japan’s Peace Boat

By Gilda C. Pasion-Balan, Manila Correspondent

South America – Completing their 10-day trip around Africa and South Africa, Liter of Light and Peace Boat recently cruised their way to install solar lighting solutions in a number of energy deprived communities.  Madagascar, Cape Aghulas, Cape Town, Namibia, Argentina and Chile were among the places with beneficiaries.

The trip is part of an ongoing 100-day voyage to various countries around the world.

Peace Boat, a Japanese non-government organization (NGO) and Liter of Light (1LL), a Manila-based, UNESCO recognized NGO that teaches easy assembly and use of solar lighting technology, partnered to promote UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. On the ship’s 100th voyage, the team along with trained “solar engineers” on board has installed lights in 19 ports in a span of 100 days and is now on the tailend of its journey.

“We work in partnerships. Some of the lights were built on the ship. We also teach the people in each community how to install, fix, and later on repair the lights,” 1LL founder Illac Diaz said on how they plan to go about the light installations.

Spreading Light in Africa

Last January 18, Peace Boat arrived in Madagascar and began a series of workshops and installations to empower communities to address energy poverty through sustainable means.

In Fort Dauphin in Madagascar, Diaz and his team conducted a solar light workshop using materials that were locally sourced. Then, the team proceeded to SOS Village to teach orphan children how to make their own solar lamps. 1LL imparted its knowledge in building solar lights and gave the community a viable option for livelihood in Cape Aghulas.

With Ikhaya Le Langa, a center for enterprise and entrepreneur development in Cape Town, the community ambassadors were able to learn solar-light making.

The team journeyed on to Windhoek in Namibia and met poet and musician Nunu and the members of the AioDaGo Community. The women from the community were able to use the solar lights to harvest their produce at night, which they had never done before.

Sharing and Learning in South America

From Namibia, Peace Boat crossed the Atlantic Ocean to South America, where the Voyage of Light continued. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the team met up with sustainable water and energy advocate Lucas Herrero. Then, the team headed south to Patagonia, where landscapes are changing due to the effects of climate change. The team met with tour guides who work to preserve and protect the national parks from exploitative practices.

In Valparaiso, Chile, the team first organized a workshop in Muelle Prat, a beautiful square right on the port. They taught 60 participants from five communities. They conducted workshops with the help of their partners at Litro de Luz, a branch of 1LL based in Chile.

While in  VientoFuerte, they worked with a community of 25 families on building simple, portable “candle lights” and house lights with mobile charging systems.

Where to next?

As Peace Boat wraps up its 100th voyage – the longest one lasting 100 days — Diaz says he is excited to return to the Pacific.  “The connections we made and experiences we shared in Latin America have breathed new life into our sails as we look forward to the last stretch of our journey. We are excited to return to the islands of the Pacific, where our Liter of Light story began, and bring our Voyage of Light full circle.