900 solar-powered lanterns bringing light into the lives of victims of conflict

Mar 23, 2017

Seated from right to left: His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador, Madam UNDP Country Director and the Governor of Sud Ubangi. Standing: Representatives of the JICA and recipient organisations.

On Thursday 23 March 2017, His Excellency Mr Hiroshi Karube, Japan’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, took part in a joint review by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Japan, as well as the presentation of 900 Panasonic solar lantern kits, a gift from the Japanese company to the Democratic Republic of Congo through the UNDP.

In his speech for the occasion, His Excellency Mr Hiroshi Karube not only pointed out the importance of the UNDP–Japan Joint Review - an example of better relations achieved through dialogue - but he also showed that the Review was an opportunity to look at the progress made in joint projects. In her opening remarks, Ms Priya Gajraj, UNDP Country Director, reminded the audience that the partnership with Japan had enabled the UNDP to achieve significant transformational development results for communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In particular, thanks to Japanese funding, the UNDP has been able to work with Congolese partners to help 6,750 households, 13,000 children affected by the conflict, and 1,248 children formerly associated with armed forces and groups.

The event was marked by the official presentation of 900 solar lantern kits for young people taking part in vocational training supported by the UNDP and through the following organisations: the Institut National de Préparation Professionnelle (INPP) for the territories of Rutshuru in Nord Kivu and Aru in Ituri province, the Centre d’Apprentissage Professionnel (CAP) for Komanda in Ituri Province and the Institut pour la Promotion Locale for Dongo in Sud Ubangi Province. The solar lanterns donated by Panasonic will benefit the recipient training centres and give young people in remote areas access to lighting, enabling them to study in suitable conditions. 

This support consolidates the positive results achieved in the field through the partnership between Japan, the DRC and the UNDP for the contribution of socio-economic development and the stabilisation of areas affected by the conflict. Additionally, it represents practical action contributing to the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative, an initiative launched by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2011 and which the UNDP is helping to implement at country level.

Mrs Priya Gajraj added that the equipment presented that day was one response to the DRC’s energy challenges, and that if managed effectively, they would strengthen the ability to develop solutions to the problems that communities experience. 

The Japanese ambassador spoke of the importance Panasonic places on improving access to electricity in developing countries. To mark its 100th anniversary, until the end of 2018 the company will be distributing 100,000 solar kits to vulnerable communities around the world. His Excellency Mr Hiroshi Karube strongly hopes that the solar kits in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be managed and used in a sustainable manner in order to improve the quality of vocational training and primary education. 


For further information, please contact:

UNDP: Stéphane Amani, CIDD Programme Adviser, E-mailstephane.amani@undp.org

Japanese Embassy: Mr Tatsuro Unuma, tatsuro.unuma@mofa.go.jp

 Article translated by Ms Alison Currier

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