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- Saturday, March 09, 2013 - From Print Edition


LAHORE: Buksh Foundation and ZONG signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide electricity to two Punjab villages, a statement said.


The partnership was made through a project “Lighting a million lives” that will provide solar-powered light to two villages to start a long-term partnership. The initiative is a part of the TERI project that aims at providing light to a billion people worldwide through solar power, it said. Under the partnership, the cellular operator will sponsor the establishment of solar charging stations in the selected villages in Chiniot district, providing solar lanterns for the use of the villagers, which can be regularly charged at the solar charging stations. This is the first time in the country’s history that a telecom company is investing in a clean energy initiative to provide the much-needed light to those living in the rural parts of the country, the statement said. Around 43 percent (80 million people) of the total population of Pakistan lives without electricity. Interestingly, while some of the villages do not have electricity, their residents still have cellular connections and carry cell phones. The common practice in these areas is that one of the villagers’ collects all cell phones and goes to a nearby town with electricity to recharge them. By investing in the solar charging stations, the cellular operator is also making the process of recharging hassle-free for the two villages. The initiative has important socioeconomic benefits also. As the solar charging stations will be operated by women from the same villages, the project directly promotes women empowerment.