October 2011: SELF installs 100 solar streetlights in Haiti and attends CGI and UN forum

As the summer months came to a close, SELF geared up for a busy fall. In September, we successfully completed the installation of 100 solar powered streetlights at two transition camps in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; participated in the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations Private Sector Forum; and made a commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative to scale-up our “Whole Village” development model in Benin.
Through our commitment to rebuilding Haiti, scaling our model in Benin, and participating in key global conferences, we continue to work towards establishing SELF as a leader in the fight against energy poverty.
Solar Lighting Improves Camp Security in Haiti
Between July and September, we worked with the Government of Haiti and Green Energy Solutions, a Port-au-Prince company, to install 68 solar powered streetlights in the tent camp of Caradeux, managed by Operasyon Men Nan Men, and 32 solar streetlights in Pétionville Club, managed by the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, an NGO founded by Sean Penn in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. The project was made possible by funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.
We’re proud to report that as soon as the lights were turned on in the camps, they had an immediate impact on the lives of the residents. Before they were installed, the crime rate was high and included numerous sexual assaults. Now, reports of violence have dramatically diminished, as the lights are helping to increase the levels of peace and security around the clock..
Clinton Global Initiative & United Nations Private Sector Forum
In late September, Bob Freling attended the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the United Nations Private Sector Forum, both held in New York. While at CGI, he was a featured speaker at the “Women + Technology: A 21st Century Solution” dinner hosted by ExxonMobil. When asked to share his thoughts on the issues of energy and sustainable agriculture, Bob remarked that energy is essential to providing food security, and cited the success of SELF’s Solar Market Garden™ drip irrigation system as a replicable solution that can contribute to agricultural development. Other dinner speakers included Dr. Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, and Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA. At one of the opening plenary sessions at CGI, a video progress report was shown highlighting the work we’re doing with NRG Energy to bring solar energy solutions to the  Boucan Carré region in Haiti. The video included commentary by Jean-Baptiste Certain, our Project Manager in Haiti.
At the UN Private Sector Forum, an event focused on engaging the private sector to increase its support of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, Bob participated in the “Water, Food & Energy Security” roundtable. The discussion centered on the food-energy-water nexus, including the sustainable use of energy and water to achieve food security.
In advance of the Forum, SELF made a commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative to scale-up our “Whole Village” development model in Benin, which takes an integrated approach in using solar energy to improve the health, education, economic development, and food and water security of rural communities.
In the press release about our commitment, Bob said, “We believe that energy is a human right and that access to it is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Our commitment seeks to both validate the Whole Village model’s value and demonstrate that it can be used throughout the developing world to alleviate poverty through the use of solar energy.”
We expect the momentum created this month to extend well into the fall and winter. We look forward to the challenges that lie before us and thank all of you for your continued support as we continue to grow and reach new milestones.
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