With only 10 years left to achieve the 17 SDGs, we as a global community have accomplished a less than proportionate amount of progress toward each goal. It is our hope that this piece educates and inspires others to look at how they too can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Because only through worldwide cooperation and action will we be able to accomplish these ambitious goals by 2030.
With our 2020 resolution to continue working toward our mission to alleviate poverty, learn how BrightLife, the social enterprise we created, contributes to the achievement of the SDGs.
BrightLife is a social enterprise in Uganda created by FINCA International. Its mission is to provide access to and financing for basic service products. This includes solar home systems, improved cookstoves and productive use assets. BrightLife directly and indirectly contributes to 9 of 17 SDGs:
SDG 1: No Poverty
BrightLife improves access to essential basic services for low-income consumers who would otherwise not have these services. These essential services include clean energy, clean cooking and clean water. Many products can also be used to generate income, creating new revenue streams to help consumers move out of poverty.
This is exactly what Josephine Nabyalu did. She previously used kerosene lamps to light her shop at night, but the strong odor often repelled customers and the lamps would sometimes leak and ruin her produce. Now, with her BrightLife solar lamps, her stall is illuminated well after dark so she can remain open longer and attract more customers.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
BrightLife’s clean cooking products provide a more efficient and safe way to prepare food. Users can prepare food in less time, and often save money by spending less on fuel.
These cookstoves help me to prepare meals much faster and they produce less smoke which has improved my health, and they also save me money by economizing firewood and charcoal usage.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
BrightLife products directly improve air quality and reduce the number of health-related illnesses and deaths due to smoke inhalation. These BrightLife products also prevent air pollution and reduce the risk of fires from using kerosene lanterns.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
BrightLife offers various financing options for its products, enabling women and other low-income populations access to life-enhancing products. Additionally, BrightLife’s products reduce opportunities for violence against women by providing safety lights for houses and reducing the need for frequent firewood retrieval.
Allen Nakayenga is just one example of a woman who improved her family’s lives through BrightLife. She learned about BrightLife through her women’s [saving and loaning] group and used a FINCA group loan to purchase her first solar lantern. Her children can now read and do their homework at night, Allen is saving money on kerosene, and she is also able to walk safely to evening community gatherings.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
BrightLife has provided access to water filtration products that bring clean drinking water to low-income populations without access to clean water.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
BrightLife’s mission is to enable low-income populations to have access to modern, clean energy products that provide significant efficiency improvements.
This was what attracted Rose Nayiga and her husband Godfrey to BrightLife. Through the flexibility of low monthly payments, they could finally afford a $62 solar home system. After the loss of one of their children to a kerosene-related fire, solar lighting gave them the peace of mind that every parent deserves, regardless of income level.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
BrightLife provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to start and grow their businesses through its products. For example, solar lighting products enable businesses to stay open later, which increases revenue.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
By enabling access to life-enhancing products for low-income populations, BrightLife is reducing inequalities within its markets.
People say solar is expensive, but these products are durable, powerful and they save me money over time.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
BrightLife works in collaboration with a variety of actors—donor institutions, governments, technical assistance providers, researchers—to tackle energy access and financial inclusion.