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Emerging and developing countries around the world are now facing a wide range of challenges, including poverty, energy, education, food, medical, and health problems. We at Panasonic have the mission of contributing to the growth of local communities through our business and proactively leverage Panasonic's technologies, solutions, and expertise to resolve these problems. In doing so, we are strengthening collaboration and cooperation with a number of stakeholders, including NPOs/NGOs and international organizations.
Currently, there are about 1.32 billion people worldwide living without electricity, mainly in developing countries in Asia and Africa*.Many homes in these regions use kerosene lamps for lighting, but they pose the risk of fire and the smoke released is harmful to human health. Since they do not provide sufficient light, the activities of people are significantly restricted while also posing a danger at night. In resolving the wide-ranging issues arising from the lack of electricity and working to improve people's lives, Panasonic leverages its energy technologies while promoting cooperation with NPOs/NGOs and international organizations.
*Source: "World Energy Outlook 2011" International Energy Agency
Solar lanterns are compact lighting fixtures that store in a battery the electricity generated by the light of the sun during the day and use this power for lighting at night. Not harmful to health and with no risk of fire, solar lanterns do not emit CO2 when in use. Previously, Panasonic had donated 1,000 solar lanterns to Tanzania (April 2011), where it has been engaged in the manufacture and sale of dry cell batteries since 1968, and 2,000 to Cambodia (March 2012), where Panasonic maintains a representative office. In both cases the lanterns had been donated via a number of international organizations and NPOs/NGOs. The experiences gained in these two countries convinced Panasonic that solar lanterns offer a solution to the social problems-medical, educational, and economic-that beset regions without electricity, and thus the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project was launched in fiscal 2013. The aim of the project is to contribute to solving social problems by donating a total of 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in the off-grid regions of the world by 2018, the 100th anniversary of Panasonic's founding.
Under this project, 3,000 compact solar lights were donated to NPOs/NGOs in Myanmar in February 2013, 5,000 to NGOs and social enterprises in India in March, and 2,000 to a refugee camp in Kenya in May.
In March 2012, Panasonic donated 2,000 solar LED lanterns to 15 NPOs and NGOs operating in Cambodia.
These NPOs and NGOs are active in the education, health, medical, and related fields. The donated lanterns are being used in a variety of locations including medical clinics, schools, children's orphanages, and small business workshops in areas without the benefit of electricity. By increasing safety when women are giving birth at night, enhancing the quality of education, and increasing productivity of the industries in the region, this initiative is helping to resolve a number of the country's social problems.
Solar lanterns enable safe medical examinations on expectant and nursing mothers and the delivery of babies to be carried out during the night at health care centers in villages with no electricity.(Photo by WorldVision Japan)
A stand-alone power supply system developed by Panasonic to supply electricity to off-grid areas all over the world, the Life Innovation Container (LIC) contributes to enhancing people's lives and the creation of a sustainable society.
The full range of Panasonic's energy creation and storage technologies are packed into a 20-foot cargo container.
General view of an LIC undergoing maintenance checks (Tanzania)
Through the NPO Millenium Promise, an LIC was donated to the Mbola Millenium Village Project, a village in Tanzania lacking in any electric power. Electricity generated by the LIC is used to show children audio-visual education materials and inICT educational activities. Thanks to the LIC, villagers can also recharge their mobile phones. In December 2012, a visit was made to the village to conduct a regular annual inspection of the LIC as well as a survey on the status of use. The LIC is installed in close proximity to an elementary school and provides the electricity required to power the personal computer classroom. The LIC is also used by villagers to charge their mobile phones.
In April 2012, Panasonic worked with the Everonn India Foundation, a charitable trust working to spread quality education across India, to set up an LIC in a semirural vocational training school for women operated by the government of Tamil Nadu. The donated LIC provides electricity for equipment to receive training programs via satellite communication.
To help fulfill its corporate responsibilities as a global enterprise by supporting African countries, Panasonic launched the Panasonic NPO Support Fund for Africa to assist NPOs and NGOs working in Africa in the strengthening of their organizational foundations for public relations. The fund also forms part of the company's efforts to attain the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a commitment on the part of the international community. With a view to building a sustainable society, this program supports the capacity building of Japan-based NPOs and NGOs that are carrying out a wide range of activities in Africa in their public relations efforts. Through ongoing public relations efforts, NPOs and NGOs can increase public awareness toward their own specific activities and help people acquire a better understanding of the actual conditions in Africa. This should serve to increase the number of supporters, strengthen the organizations' financial resources, and thus help strengthen their organizational foundations. In 2012, the Panasonic NPO Support Fund for Africa granted subsidies totaling 4.0 million yen to five organizations.
Panasonic has been participating in a social action program promoted by Table For Two International (TFT), an NPO, since August 2009. This project originated in Japan with a view to eliminating the imbalance in food conditions, in which the developing world is facing hunger and malnutrition while the developed world is suffering from obesity and other lifestyle diseases. In specific terms, through fund-raising activities, and when healthy dishes are served at 16 cafeterias spread across 11 internal sites, 20 yen per meal, equivalent to the cost of one school meal in Africa, is donated to TFT. Through this and other fund-raising activities Panasonic has donated around 7.1 million yen to TFT.