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Solar Lights Bring Hope to Haiti

January 14, 2011

Almost a year after the earthquake that rattled Haiti on January 12, 2010, the UN Foundation continues to support the United Nations in its efforts to help Haitians rebuild better than ever.  So far, supporters of the UN Foundation have helped to raise nearly $4 million to help the UN secure and deliver food, provide jobs, repair streets, keep diseases in check, keep women safe from sexual assault and violence, and ensure women have healthy pregnancies and babies.

With the recognition that helping women and children is fundamental to any development effort, the UN Foundation is working closely with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide vital maternal health kits to help pregnant women deliver their babies safely when they can’t reach a hospital or clinic or don’t have access to those facilities.  The Foundation also funded hundreds of solar street lights that keep women and children safe from violence at night and also positively impact education, economic productivity and the environment.

Even before the earthquake demolished Haiti’s infrastructure, only 12 percent of the country’s population was connected to the power grid. After the quake, diesel fuel became even more difficult to get and more expensive. The lack of electricity shortened work days, prevented children from doing schoolwork, and posed an array of safety risks.

The tent camps that still house thousands of Haitian families have turned to solar energy for a sustainable power supply and to address the need for security and safety. Over the past months, thousands of cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and durable LED streetlights have been installed.

During a recent trip to Port-au-Prince, UN Foundation staff talked to UNFPA experts about the solar lighting project that UN Foundation supporters helped make possible. This video highlights how the UN quickly responded and the impact the LED street lights have already made in bringing new hope to Haiti.