Video: In Rural Kenya, Solar Lanterns Cut Carbon and Help Kids Read

Solar power can be transformative in places where people have to walk for miles just to charge a cell phone.

Residents of the rural Kenyan village of Oloitokitok used to light their homes at night by burning wood and kerosene. When these fuels ran out, the village was in darkness. Local students had no light to read by, and—because the village is close to a park where lions and elephants live—wildlife wandered into people’s yards, causing frequent clashes.

But all that’s changing now due to a collaborative project that brings solar lighting to the village and puts local women in charge of the transition. This video, filmed on-site by the nonprofit media group Project Survival Media, takes us to one of the biweekly trainings organized collaboratively by SunTransfer, a German company that specializes in bringing solar technology to off-grid areas, and the Kenyan Women’s Finance Trust, a microfinance bank that lends only to women.

The villagers speak about how solar lanterns have improved their children’s schoolwork and kept pesky elephants away. But their vision goes way beyond their own backyards: they also point out how solar lighting has helped them to reduce their carbon emissions and cut back their contributions to climate change.