Remote communities in the Amazon region receive solar powered lamps made from recycled bottles

Electricity has not yet reached the majority of the communities in Carauari, a remote municipality on the banks of the Juruá river, an important tributary of the Amazon river. For some of the region's riverbank settlements, diesel powered generators have been the only energy option available, but they are on only for a few hours each night, because of the high costs involved.

“Living without electricity isn't a good thing,” says Marcos Oliveira de Souza, son of a local leader in the Nova Esperança community. He volunteered to participate in an expedition that visited a number of Carauari’s communities this August to bring a simple, yet liberating technology: solar-based lamps made from plastic bottles, solar panels and PVC pipe. This technology was first created by Alfredo Moser, a Brazilian mechanic, and later adopted by a Philippine NGO back in 2012 and branded with “Liter of Light,” it was exported to other countries before making its way back to Brazil.

SITAWI, one of the PCAB's implementation partners, is part of the Médio Juruá Territory Program - a network of institutions supporting sustainable development in the Carauari communities. The program, through the local Association of Rural Producers (ASPROC) worked with the Liter of Light NGO and their volunteer network to provide lamps for 600 families in the riverbank communities.

Marcos recalled the boat trip and the way that each community gathered to take part in producing the lamps, when the group arrived. “Each of us had a task: paint the lamps, take care of the children, carry the boxes. It was all very organized. I learned a lot and it was a dream come true to be part of the team effort.”

Although Nova Esperança is an exception and has had energy 24 hours a day since last year, this portable low-cost source of light will be very useful. “Fishermen can go out to the river in the evening and come back home without any fear of running into snakes in the dark. In addition, it will be possible to work in the fields or to make flour until late,” explains Marcos.

The batteries of the 600 lamps produced and distributed among the communities can last for six hours when fully charged and are already benefiting 3,000 families. For Lucinete Cunha, a member of SITAWI's field staff based in Carauari, “taking part in the Liter of Light activity was much more than just work. It was about being part of an event that is creating major changes for people living far from urban centers”.

Litro de Luz lamp. Photo: Divulgação/ Litro de Luz