UNITED NATIONS – New York, September 14, 2015 – We Care Solar has won the UN's first “Powering the Future We Want - Recognizing Innovative Practices in Energy for Sustainable Development” award. We Care Solar® is being recognized with this $1 million grant for its pioneering work providing sustainable energy to improve maternal and child health. The non-profit organization, based in Berkeley, CA, produces Solar Suitcases which provide desperately needed light and energy to under-resourced medical facilities, primarily in Africa and Asia.

We Care Solar® is part of the United Nations Foundation`s global Energy Access Practitioner Network for Sustainable Energy for All. The Network focuses on both household and community-level electrification for productive purposes, incorporating specific market-based applications for health, agriculture, education, small business, communities and household solutions. We Care Solar® is also one of the champions of the SEforALL “Clean Energy is Life" campaign. cleanenergyislife.org"

The “Powering the Future We Want” - award is the first by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and signals the convergence of efforts around global health, renewable energy and sustainable development. It comes on the eve of the UN's historic adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Laura E. Stachel, We Care Solar co-founder and executive director, accepted the award at a ceremony at the United Nations introduced by Secretary General H.E Ban Ki-moon. From over 200 applicants, We Care Solar was one of 12 finalists invited to the United Nations to share sustainable energy practices. More details are here: https://poweringthefuture.un.org/

Dr. Stachel noted, “The United Nations is shining a light on an area that has all too often been overlooked — the lack of reliable electricity in health facilities. I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of health workers who have seen the miracle of light and power in saving lives, and we have much more work to do. This award is the beginning of a brighter future for women and babies everywhere.”

Dr. Stachel used her acceptance speech to declare a commitment to light up and power every primary health clinic in the world with renewable forms of energy. Globally, as many as 300,000 health centers lack reliable power today. “There can no longer be silos between global health goals and sustainable energy goals. The time has come to collectively work together to give every health care worker the power they need to save lives.”

About We Care Solar: As an obstetrician conducting public health research in Nigeria, Dr. Stachel was one of the first experts to recognize the link between maternal mortality and lack of access to reliable power. She co-founded We Care Solar in partnership with her husband, Hal Aronson, in 2010. Together, they developed compact portable Solar Suitcases to provide essential lighting and electricity to maternal health centers. To date, 1300 We Care Solar Suitcases® have been distributed to health centers, primarily in Africa and Asia, and that number is expected to double in the next twelve months.

We Care Solar is headquartered at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, UC Berkeley. www.wecaresolar.org

Watch a short video about We Care Solar here

Photo credit: We Care Solar