December 5, 2014
Villagers in Bhutan are pleased with turning on the lights for the first time.
Some 1.3 billion people, approximately one-fifth of the global population, do not have access to electricity. Many of these people live in mountain areas, on remote islands and in extensive savannah areas power lines cannot reach in developing countries.
However, we are now witnessing a sweeping change in this situation with the application of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs), the creation of Japanese inventors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, who shared the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics.
JICA is working to spread LEDs in more than 30 projects in more than 20 countries. LEDs have been utilized to improve the quality of life of the poor, to save energy and for medical and research equipment.
Examples of JICA's achievements in spreading the use of LEDs as part of solar home lighting systems for bright and long-lasting illumination include the lights being turned on for the first time in the village of Malbasay in the Tsirang District of Bhutan in 2010, the installation of the lighting systems in 10 primary schools and clinics in rural Kenya to prevent wild animal invasions and their use on the islands of Tonga to allow work at night and to make sea crossings easier.
JICA recently created a pamphlet about its work using blue LEDs and solar home lighting systems.