Why Energy Access Is The Most Powerful Solution To Poverty

There is no panacea for alleviating poverty, but providing access to energy appears to be the next best thing.

As a Fundraising Officer much of what I say to potential donors is in the future tense. We will secure X, this will enable Y, which will benefit Z. Though my words are based on previous findings and accurate projections, donors are, understandably, often sceptical.

The bold claims that we make in our applications and during our presentations seem too good to be true. How can a single intervention improve not only the health of the people it is for, but also their education, their nutrition, their income, the gender inequality in the area, and also combat climate change? Those unaware of the reality would dismiss our claims as falsehoods, but they are not.

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Renewable World: Tackling Poverty Through Renewable Energy

“We met women who are beaten every day by their husbands for asking for money for food. They are brought up to believe that if your husband doesn’t hit you he doesn’t love you. We met women who have to sell fish their husbands have caught. But the tradesmen buying the fish know they will rot after 4-5 hrs in the heat. So they stand there with their trucks full of ice and toy with the women as the price of their fish decreases while the clock ticks, eventually agreeing only to buy them from the women who will grant them sexual favours. I met women who have to walk four kilometres to fetch a can of water eight times a day. I consider myself fairly strong but I tried lifting one can and could barely carry it a metre. Some of these women have to send their daughters alone after school from the age of seven to collect this water instead, where they are often abused by men from other villages.”

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Black Gold: US Foreign Policy and Its Relationship With Oil

I remember talking to some Syrian officials whilst I was in the Turkmen mountains. They were asking me why nobody was doing anything about the situation that was unfolding in their country. Why were the US not interfering, and preventing the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians? The only answer I could give was based on my limited knowledge of American foreign policy.

I told the Syrians that the US cared little for the people of Syria because the US had little to gain from the country. Unlike in Iraq, there were no oil fields and so the US would not risk their own men, and spend their own money, if they were going to get nothing but thanks in return.

I walked away from these meetings content with my answers, but wondering if perhaps I was being a little too simplistic. Surely making decisions in the White House was a more complex procedure than simply asking: “What can we gain?”

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Buzz Off: A Follow Up

I love finding out that something I have written has been justified by human action in the real world. This was precisely the case I found myself in this weekend. It is comforting to know I am not the only one who thinks a certain way.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “Buzz Off: The Problem With British Gas’ Hive“. After ranting about this latest idiotic initiative I ended the article with the following paragraph:

“The only way that I can see Hive saving people money is if you have it installed and you leave the house empty, forgetting to turn the heating off. Then you are able to turn it off using the app on your phone. Hive costs £199 to buy and have installed but for a fraction of that price I could sell you a wonderfully designed post-it with the words “TURN THE HEATING OFF”. You can stick this to the inside of your front door and save yourself a ton a money on your energy bills. And I don’t even need an awful advert and terrible song to sell it to you”

The last few days I have spent in London, with a very good friend of mine who I had not seen in a long time. Whilst in London we visited some his friends and had a couple of drinks around one of their houses. I was overjoyed to find the following on the back of his friends front door.

2014-03-07 21.20.19
Made me smile. Wonderful.


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Buzz Off: The Problem With British Gas’ Hive

I am sure everyone has seen the British Gas Hive adverts by now. Indeed they seem to be on every quarter of an hour. Even when you walk away from the TV during an intermission you can hear the nonsensical happy-go-lucky jingle following you down the hallway.

“So why aren’t you surfing on a cab, going to visit your mad Dad, or shopping for some trousers, when it starts snowing on your schnauzers, while Hive is busy controlling your heating at home”. The questionable lyrical content of the advert is not the only bone I have to pick with British Gas’ Hive.

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