Extreme Poverty In Haiti
In Haiti, 2 in 3 people live on less than $2 a day and nearly 25% live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day. Furthermore, Haitians are poor compared to other countries in the region. Haiti’s Gross National Income per capita (at Purchase Power Parity) is $1730 while this statistic averages $14,098 for Caribbean/Latin American developing countries.
With low levels of development throughout the country, only 38% of Haitians have access to electricity. USAID names lack of electricity access and dependence on charcoal as Haiti’s greatest energy challenges. Once installed, solar panels significantly reduce energy costs and increase electricity access for people in poverty. Electricity access, in turn, improves health and education quality for these people.
80% of illnesses in developing countries are caused by unsanitary water. 50% of Haitians use unsanitary water. Solar energy can be used to power water filters to alleviate water-borne illnesses, improving wellbeing and health of Haitians. Similarly, electricity can power refrigeration to prevent food-borne illness.
Without electricity access, Haitians use charcoal indoors to cook food. Charcoal is expensive, costing most Haitians 25-30% of their income. Using charcoal indoors puts women and children at especially high risk for pollution-related diseases since they are most involved in food preparation. An estimated 9,500 Haitians die each year from hazardous air pollutants. Making matters worse, only 2% of the country’s landscape is forested due to heavy deforestation.
Along with health, more electricity improves education access. Electric lights, such as solar-powered lamps, allow students to study later into the day. Technologies such as computers and tablets require electricity. Students are healthy enough to attend school as electricity prevents water- and food-borne illnesses.
Families using solar power also save on energy costs; they can invest these saved funds into their children’s education. In underdeveloped countries, people pay up to 40 times as much for energy access. This energy is also lower quality than in developed countries. Higher family incomes make child labor unnecessary and free children to attend school.
How to Help
We need your help making solar energy possible for Haiti’s least fortunate. Join us this April or donate today to help us bring solar energy to Haiti. We are a 501(c)(3) charity and all donations are tax-deductible.