As the sun slips away from another sweltering South Texas summer day, you sigh contentedly. Texas sunsets are nothing short of gorgeous. But, it’s hot. Damn hot. No worries. You know once you step back inside, comfort awaits.
You pick up your sweaty Shiner bottle from the table, surprised by how quickly it’s warmed. Condensation drips down the side of the bottle, almost in unison with the drops of sweat running down your neck, pooling in your bra.
Pulling open the door you expect to feel an icy blast of air across your face but instead, stifling, steamy hot air greets you. The air conditioner is out. You flick a switch but the room remains dark, the last vestiges of light fading quickly behind you along with the sunset.
Suddenly, light becomes a luxury, electricity an extravagance. You don’t need them to survive the night but enjoying another cold beer while watching the Bachelorette (shhhh – we won’t judge) would sure be nice.
We’re a bit spoiled. We’ve all experienced power outages like this. But we know that, eventually, the electricity always comes back on. Until it’s suddenly not there, we take the luxury of light for granted.
Not everyone is so lucky.
Did you know:
- 7 out of 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to electricity.
- 30% of health centers and over a third of primary schools in Africa have to function with no electricity at all. This means 90 million students learn in places where there is no power. 255 million patients are cared for in medical facilities where electricity isn’t available.
- And, even more shocking, because 8 out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa heat their homes and cook food using open fires, smoke inhalation and fumes cause 4 million deaths each year – mainly among women and children – more deaths than from malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.
How we can #ElectrifyAfrica
Rather than feel guilty about the luxuries electricity provides us, let’s help bring it to others.
This month, I’ve joined photographers and bloggers from around the country for ONE Campaign’s #LightforLight Blog Relay. We’re sharing our light-filled photos and talking about the importance of light in relation to global health, refrigerating vaccines, studying, running businesses, and in photography.
Last year, the House and the Senate both introduced bills that would help bring electricity to 50 million people in Africa for the very first time. Unfortunately, they didn’t pass. But we have another chance to bring this issue to the forefront again this year. The House just introduced The Electrify Africa Act.
From the Electrify Africa Act:
A shocking seven in 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa — nearly 600 million people — do not have basic access to electricity. In 30 African countries, endemic power shortages for people at all economic levels are a way of life. The lack of electricity impacts people’s lives in at least five major ways, with a disproportionately negative impact on women and girls.
The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 would prioritize and coordinate U.S. government resources in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 to:
- Promote first-time access to electricity for at least 50 million people, particularly the poor.
- Encourage the installation of at least an additional 20,000 megawatts of electrical power in both rural and urban areas using a broad mix of energy options.
- Encourage in-country reforms to facilitate public-private partnerships and increase transparency in power production, distribution, and pricing.
- Promote efficient institutional platforms that provide electrical service to rural and underserved areas.
We don’t want to waste any time making sure Congress knows how important this bill is. Join ONE to take action and tell Congress to #ElectrifyAfrica! Simply fill out the form below and share it with your friends.
Light illuminates the faces we love.
Light brings history to life.
Light satisfies our curiosity and delights us.
But most important: light is the lifeblood of a community. With it we thrive. Please sign the petition to show Congress you care about bringing light and life to Africa.