As I pass the first anniversary of my tenure with Light Up the World, I must say that the time has flown by and this old dog has had to learn new tricks. Thanks to all the support of our donors and supporters and the unstinting and sacrificial contributions of all the staff and volunteers both in Canada and Peru, I can confidently say that the organization has survived the economic ravages of Covid19, and we are looking forward to the exiting new projects ahead.
The pandemic has forced us to innovate, and Incredibly we have developed new ways of working that will expand the organization’s ability to meet the development needs of the ‘last mile’ and underserved populations of the world. I want to take this opportunity to announce some of the initiatives that we are working on and will be developing in the coming months.
"The Social Enterprise thrived and is ready to scale"
During the pandemic we have financed over 200 solar systems in Peru and we have learned that the Social Enterprise will be able to sustainably expand by orders of magnitude if we can find enough investment to support us to scale and purchase more home solar systems. Our three years of experience has confirmed that the demand for these products is growing and that our Social Enterprise model can generate employment and supply solar energy to thousands of homes sustainably. Not only in Peru but in many developing countries in Latin America and the rest of the world.
"Game-changer satellite internet projects coming up"
In partnership with students at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) we have developed a scalable plan for introducing high speed satellite internet to remote regions of the world. We will be doing more work on this over the next six months to provide a proof of concept and then moving this product into our Social Enterprise. It is our view that such high-speed internet will be a social and economic game changer for those who are currently excluded from the worldwide web.
"Social Projects in Canada in collaboration with First Nations Communities and Enactus Canada"
Lastly, this summer LUTW is partnering with the Award-winning program Enactus from Lambton College and generous financing partners to bring solar power and satellite internet to two First Nations communities in Saskatchewan. This will be the start of a ten-year project and we are very excited to be able to repatriate and apply in Canada what we have learned in Peru and other countries.
It has been a year of nail biting and learning. But it has also been a year of meeting and working with the backbone of the organization which are the many volunteers and supporters who make LUTW what it is. While we cannot send as many people to install solar panels in the most remote locations of the world as we used to. These initiatives will only be possible through the support of those that want to help others and choose LUTW to be their channel to drive change.
One of our main obstacles is still to find enough funding to bring these programs through, and as a small organization that devotes very little resources to fundraising, we need your support. If you know of a foundation or businesses that is interested in social lending, or that has a particular interest in funding First Nations projects, we would love to hear from you. We would also appreciate your monthly and one time donations as it greatly allows us to stay afloat and keep making an impact.
Mostly, to all the LUTW family, thank you for a successful year and, having turned the COVID corner, here is to continued and growing success.
Dr. Murray Lytle. phD, P.Eng
Light Up The World’s Executive Director
You can learn more about LUTW and donate through our website at www.lutw.org