Farnell element14 brings clean, renewable lighting to remote communities in Tanzania

Farnell element14 has embarked on an innovative initiative to provide solar powered LED lighting to remote villages in Tanzania, Africa.

Working in conjunction with sustainability charity, the United Bank of Carbon (UBoC), the global electronics distributor has developed lighting kits, which provide an environmentally friendly, cost saving alternative to the liquid fuel based forms of lighting currently used by the local communities. Designed by Farnell element14’s in house technical team, the units have been optimised for ease of assembly, using own brand parts along with components from some of its leading suppliers.

Farnell element14 is also providing funding to hire and train a local engineer to build, install and maintain the kits so that the community can deal with technical problems without having to rely on outside help.

Four hundred kits have already been shipped out to the Tongwe community in remote western Tanzania near the Mahale Mountains National Park for use by schools, clinics and forest rangers. Given the remoteness of the villages, Farnell element14 has received essential support from safari company Nomad Tanzania which has transported the kits by air to one of its camps only a short distance from Tongwe Land.

The project supports the company’s commitment to helping these communities replace the kerosene wick lamps currently used which, produce significant emissions that are detrimental to the health of local people when inhaled and also contribute to climate change. The project is also part of a larger initiative by UBoC and its partners aimed at reducing deforestation in Tongweland – home to one of the world’s most important populations of Eastern long-haired chimpanzees.

“This is an ambitious and important project that Farnell element14 is ideally positioned to support and drive,” said Steven Webb, Company Secretary and General Counsel at Farnell element14 “Solar powered lighting is the ideal solution for remote communities with no access to grid electricity and can save them significant cost versus other forms of lighting that use fuels, which must be purchased and transported over long distances. We’ve already had a fantastic response from people who have used the sample kits – the local people have been shocked by how bright the LED bulb is and have wanted more kits for neighbours and friends.

“The project brings together our technical expertise, product range, drive for innovation and approach to sustainability in a way that delivers benefits to all involved. By helping communities become more self-sufficient and encouraging the use of sustainable sources of energy, there are better prospects for their long-term viability and population migration to cities will be reduced.

“We hope that this project will inspire other companies to embark on similar initiatives which not only have a major impact in some of the poorest areas of the world, but also give tangible business benefits.”

Jonathan Wild, trustee of UBoC and former chairman and chief executive of Bettys & Taylors Group, said: "Farnell element14 is bringing vital sustainable technology to 40,000 people looking after 10 million of the planet's tropical trees. This is quite a project, especially in a remote corner of Tanzania with no roads, no cars, no power lines, no telephones, and hopelessly under-equipped dispensaries and schools. The company is clearly demonstrating the social leadership without which there can be no real business leadership. It is a privilege to be working with such a visionary company."

Photo caption: L-R Jonathan Wild, trustee of UBoC and former chairman and chief executive of Bettys & Taylors Group, Ed Butt, Project Co-ordinator United Bank of Carbon with Steven Webb, Premier Farnell Company Secretary

About Farnell element14
Farnell element14 is a high-service distributor of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair. Bringing together the latest products, services, and development software, all connected to an innovative online engineering community where purchasers and engineers can access peers and experts, a wide range of independent technical information and helpful tools. Whether researching a new technology, designing an electronic product, or looking for parts to repair an existing system, Farnell is the trusted source to find the answers and parts you need to keep your project on the fast track, right from the start.

Farnell element14 is the operating business of Premier Farnell plc (LSE:pfl) in Europe.

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Premier Farnell Key facts

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August 2013

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