Launched as part of COP21 in 2015, the Schools, Lights and Rights pilot programme is one of the ENGIE Foundation’s flagship initiatives. Its strength lies in a) its ambition of promoting education, access to energy and the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, b) the involvement of partner organisations and volunteer employees from the ENGIE Group over at least a three-year period, and c) the results it has achieved during the first two years of the programme. Read on to find out more.

Schools, lights and rights for the children of Africa

Through the Schools, Lights and Rights project, the ENGIE Foundation and the federation of charities La Voix De l’Enfant (The Voice of the Child) have been creating brighter futures for children in need around the world since 2015. This ambitious three-year programme spanning seven countries (South Africa, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Madagascar, Afghanistan, India and France) seeks to promote education (Schools), access to energy (Lights) and the social inclusion of children (Rights).

In its first year, more than 5,000 civil statuses were issued to children. In addition, 5,000 portable solar lamps were distributed. Paid for by the ENGIE Foundation, these lights facilitate access to education by allowing children to work at home in the evening. They also promote health and safety by reducing the risks associated with using candles and oil lamps. The programme also supported the green electrification of schools by solar panels, thanks to the courage and dedication of volunteers from Energy Assistance France (an NGO made up of ENGIE Group employees). Last but not least, volunteers worked with local communities to raise awareness of renewable energies, environmental protection and sustainable development – a reminder that the future of these communities and the future of our planet are interlinked.

Schools, Lights and Rights: an encouraging second year

The second year began with the aim of expanding and strengthening the programme, helped by support from local organisations and partners in two new countries: Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. La Voix De l’Enfant member associations, with backing from the ENGIE Foundation, were able to strengthen the support mechanisms for local communities: more than 57,000 civil statuses were obtained, over 8,600 portable solar lamps distributed and many schools and childcare centres provided with solar power. In addition, seven electrification projects are currently being completed by La Voix De l’Enfant associations and volunteers from Energy Assistance France. Though a modest contribution to the fight against global energy poverty, this programme offers great potential to develop social and environmental initiatives that benefit children.

The smiles on the children’s faces are the greatest reward, but the ENGIE Foundation wishes to thank the member associations of La Voix De l’Enfant and their partners who contribute every day to improving the living conditions of people enduring energy poverty and social exclusion. They are: Valued Citizens (South Africa), Afghanistan Libre (Afghanistan), SOS Enfants, Enfants & Développement (Burkina Faso), AED Karen Mane (Morocco), Bazar Sans Frontières and Maison de Sagesse (Madagascar), Volontariat (India) and Intermèdes Robinson (France).