This is exciting! Catholic parish women leaders in Africa are becoming forces of change. Sun24 has empowered these women in Uganda and Kenya by giving them “smart feature phones” that give them Internet access for the first time. Now they can easily communicate with each other about their training on the cooking hole, the top down burn and biochar.

We recently began training the parish leaders to sell simple $4 solar lights to replace ubiquitous filthy kerosene lamps. Families spend too much for kerosene, the lamps often start house fires that kill and maim and the smoke causes diseases that kill many thousands every year. This smoke contains black carbon, the second biggest agent of climate warming, behind CO2. Replacing all kerosene lamps in East Africa alone would be like removing 4 million tonnes of CO2 every year, roughly the same as the emissions from one million American cars.

Sun24 gives parishes in Uganda and Kenya a starter set of lights. The women leaders sell the lights to women self help groups (SHGs). The SHG members pool their money, allowing the group to buy a couple lights at a time. SHGs love this. Parish leaders use the profits to buy more lights to sell and to expand training on cooking and biochar production. The results have been phenomenal as the project has been embraced by parish leaders and SHGs. The woman leader of Fort Portal Diocese in Uganda says the project has “caught fire”. We may have cracked the code for ending dependence on filthy kerosene lamps.