Lifeline Energy provides 24/7 access to audio content that educates, informs and invigorates learning for vulnerable and at-risk populations. Their pioneering fit-for-purpose, solar and wind-up radios and MP3 players are designed and engineered for large group and classroom engagement. Working mainly in Africa, their products have proven impact in schools, clinics, women’s listening groups, and farming cooperatives.
They respond to humanitarian emergencies globally with solar and wind-up radio-lights.
Nearly 600,000 solar and wind-up radios and media players have been distributed since 1999, mainly in Africa. Each radio or media player benefits an average of 40 listeners. In school programmes that number is higher given large class sizes.
They work across development sectors including education, health, agriculture, peace-making, the environment, and emergency response.
No other organisation does what they do.
Lifeline Energy is a US and South African charity
Lifeline Energy is a fund-seeking 501 (c) (3) US charity and a Section 18A and 21 South African public benefit organisation that relies on contributions from individuals, family foundations, corporate funding, institutions and government-sponsored programmes. UK donations are made via GlobalGiving. They partner with international aid organisations, in-country NGO partners, business and UN agencies to implement education and information projects and respond to humanitarian emergencies. Lifeline Energy was formerly known as Freeplay Foundation.
Lifeline Technologies: their new product development company
In 2010 Lifeline Technologies Trading Ltd, a for-profit new product development and trading company that designs and manufactures the products they use in their projects. Lifeline Energy is the majority shareholder. It’s a unique hybrid business structure with Lifeline Technologies’ profits accruing to the charity to provide a revenue stream.
Their values, which underpin everything that they do, are integrity, excellence, innovation and partnership.
Integrity in daily action is the cornerstone upon which they judge themselves and the yardstick against which they invite their stakeholders to measure them. Cultivating integrity begins within and builds outward to others. They value a climate of mutual trust with all their stakeholders, with whom they share and exchange perspectives. When they share the stories of those they seek to serve, they do so with sensitivity, respect and dignity.
Striving for excellence is a way of life. It inspires and sustains them in all that they do. They continually demand the best of themselves in service delivery to all their stakeholders, externally and internally. At Lifeline Energy commitment to excellence requires that they:
Respond urgently and vigorously to opportunity
Distribute the best quality solar and wind-up products that are safe to use and environmentally clean
Develop enduring partnerships
Deliver effective and timely projects
Adopt rigorous standards of performance evaluation.
They hold that the most complex and intractable problems – from poverty to environmental degradation – are capable of creative resolution. This inspires them to seek opportunities to place innovative and clean technologies at the service of even the most remote, forgotten and disenfranchised sectors of society. They seek to approach entrenched and long-running problems with a fresh and original eye. They scan the environment for novel and effective models of operation. They aspire to create new alliances across unlikely boundaries and in places where they may never have been found before.
Partnerships lie at the heart of their work. They believe that lasting improvements in people’s lives come about when all those involved and affected by change are offered space for their voices to be heard. They seek partners who share their goals and values, and with whom they can co-create vehicles for collective research, participative service delivery, joint evaluation and learning.
Lifeline Energy works mainly in Africa, primarily focusing on providing education and information access to women, orphans and vulnerable children and refugees through their solar and wind-up MP3 players and radios. Their products are used in the following sectors:
Agriculture beats at the heart of African economies, with roughly 80% of Africans earning their living through agriculture. Increasing agricultural productivity is key to reducing poverty and increasing food security. Farmers need information to learn how to rise above basic subsistence farming to increase crop yields and quality, and have regular access to market prices. They need ongoing education about modern planting techniques, the safe use of pesticides and animal husbandry.
Project in action: Read more about FarmTalk radio and their project with COMACO in Zambia.
Education is fundamental to a nation’s future. Lack of resources, classrooms, trained teachers, books and school supplies all contribute to education challenges in Africa. On a continent where only half of all adults are literate, Africa’s future economic and social development relies on educating the next generation. But how can 40 million out-of-school children receive a high quality basic education? One solution is audio learning via radio or MP3 player.
Project in action: Read about Learning at Taonga Market, an interactive radio instruction (IRI) initiative in Zambia.
Whether they occur through extreme weather, famine or conflict, complex emergencies can devastate the lives of survivors. Access to trusted information is an urgent need, along with water, food, shelter, medical attention and clothing. Being able to access radio information on demand from trusted sources is critical.
Global climate change, slash-and-burn farming practices, over-population, plant and animal species threatened with extinction, and pollutants in their air, water and soil – are all serious environmental challenges facing the world today. People need information on how to combat climate change in their own environment, and radio can play a key role in this.
Further, the main energy sources used by the poor – wood, candles, kerosene and disposable batteries – are all harmful to the environment. Understanding the benefits of solar and other renewable energy sources is essential.
HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and high rates of maternal and infant mortality are critical health issues facing sub-Saharan Africa. Debilitating diseases, many preventable, erode productivity and well being. In 2006, nearly 25 million Africans were living with HIV and AIDS. Africa is home to an estimated 50 million orphans – more than one-third of these children were orphaned by AIDS. Reliable, credible information and education are paramount in reducing disease and promoting improved health, nutrition and hygiene.
Governance is complex, even for the most transparent and democratic societies. In many countries, citizens do not know what their government is doing and how it affects them. Lack of information, or information rife with rumour, can stoke resentment and unrest. Radio is an excellent vehicle to provide instruction on civic education. In emerging democracies, for example, people may have limited knowledge of citizens’ roles and responsibilities.
Where is Lifeline Energy