15 February 2018, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA
Panasonic Corporation in Japan has donated one hundred and twenty (120) solar lanterns to Guyana as part of its 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project, which would provide light to off-grid communities extending the duration of social services such as medical services, schools, and ensuring women’s safety at night.
The donation was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Ministry of Finance.
The lanterns were handed over to the Ministries of Public Health and Education and will be further distributed in off-grid communities in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 to health facilities to facilitate midwives providing safe delivery and neonatal care as well as assist community health workers in adequately managing emergencies at night.
Additionally, school dormitories and teachers’ quarters will use the lanterns in order to provide continuous lighting for increased safety of students and teachers and extend the duration of study.
The Ministries have appointed liaison officers who will be responsible for the delivery of the solar lanterns to the destined locations, training of personnel on the use of equipment, regular supervision of their use by local responsible persons and periodic monitoring. The lanterns can potentially sustain up to five years with proper maintenance.
Delivering remarks at the handover ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance on 15 February 2018, Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry explained that in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate to decrease disparities in education in the hinterland, Panasonic’s donation is a welcome contribution in meeting the needs of hinterland teachers and students.
She remarked that the solar lanterns will illuminate dormitories and teachers’ quarters in regions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 thereby removing a major obstacle for students and extending working hours for teachers which will generate positive change.
Ms. Collette Adams, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Health expressed gratitude to UNDP and Panasonic Corporation for the donation. She explained that the kind gesture will improve the delivery of health services at night in hinterland communities.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka expressed gratitude to Panasonic for responding to the request and donating the lanterns. She noted that this contribution from Panasonic is an example of active engagement of Japan’s private sector in helping countries and communities around the world towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Also present at the handover ceremony was Mr. Yoshinori Yakabe, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan. He explained that the donation is a praiseworthy example of corporate social responsibility and commended Panasonic Corporation for their benevolent mission of supporting sustainable development through their “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project”.
Photos of the handover ceremony can be accessed here.