In the small country of Timor-Leste, the majority of families do not have access to electricity. Women lack an efficient way to cook, children do not have a reliable light source to study with, and families struggle with health problems from exposure to dirty kerosene smoke. As many as 65 percent of the people there live off the grid.
For families in rural areas, simply supplying themselves with energy to light their homes and carry out daily tasks is a financial burden – one that also often carries significant health and environmental risks. Kerosene, wood, candles and batteries are unsustainable energy sources that drain families’ financial resources, yet release hazardous emissions and provide low-quality light.
Mercy Corps’ Energy for All programme is helping communities in Timor-Leste create clean energy markets from the ground up by building consumer awareness and distribution of affordable solar energy and clean cooking products.
In these photos, see how the programme works and meet some of the people helping their communities achieve better health, stronger economies and sustainable solutions to the poverty cycle in Timor-Leste.