Semi-urban and rural residents can now take part in conserving the environment after bulb maker Philips introduced a new range of innovation products that are meant to keep the environment clean and at the same time help leading a healthier life.

The products are part of the Maisha ni Mwelekeo (Life is about Direction) roadshow, a countrywide campaign aimed at communities and self-help groups. The Philips team is engaging the communities and educating them around clean cooking and benefits of solar powered lighting solutions that create a safer and healthier home environment.

With over 2.6 billion people depending on traditional stoves for cooking and heating their homes, according to the World Energy Outlook 2012, Philips products are aimed at addressing the challenges facing such communities who contribute to the 3.9 million tons of fuel burnt in a day. Rural communities and those occupying semi-urban areas lack awareness on these health risks with around 75,000 people getting sick or even dying from inhaling smoke. The products also aim at preserving the environment which is at risk as many people continue relying on wood as their prime source of fuel, contributing to a daily loss of 200 sq. kilometres of land.

One of Philips’ products, a fan-driven cooking stove (jiko), can reduce smoke and carbon monoxide emission by more than 90 per cent compared to open fire thus reducing the health risks of indoor cooking. The stove utilizes pellets, wood or other biomass for cooking in a healthy, environmental friendly and fuel efficient manner.

“At Philips, we are cognisant of the fact that clean cooking has a direct positive impact on the environment as well as the health and well-being and income of people. It is our ambition is to create meaningful innovations that matter to people and our new Philips cook stove (Jiko) will positively contribute to reducing the amount of people dependent on open fires or inefficient cook stoves for cooking”, says Mary Kuria, General Manager, Philips Lighting East Africa.

On the lighting front, Philips has launched three models of solar lighting solutions for home use that can light homes of the semi-urban dwellers.

“Today an estimated 560 million Africans live without electricity,” continues Mary Kuria. “For these people nighttime means either darkness or the flickering light of a candle or kerosene lamp. “However the disadvantages of Kerosene lanterns are many, including safety and health risks, high costs due to the link with oil prices. And the light output of these lanterns is so low as to make visibility almost impossible.

“Using sun energy to power lighting solutions can make a true difference to these communities.”

Philips has committed to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) and also SNV Netherlands Development Organization to jointly work on research, community education and access to financing for adopting clean cooking technologies.

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