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All over the world, reproductive health is suffering because of medical facilities with insufficient or unreliable power. Some mothers are turned away from as many as four or five facilities in a row because capacity is limited by issues like poor lighting and lack of blood storage. In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman talks with Laura Stachel and Hal Aronson, co-founders of WE CARE Solar, about their effort to combat this issue worldwide. WE CARE stands for Women’s Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity.
Starting with an initial prototype built of home solar panels and scrap wood, the two have advanced their distinctive “suitcase design” to a standalone, plug-and-play solar system that is already seeing use in medical facilities in Haiti and Africa. As The Tech Awards 2011 laureates of the Nokia Health Award, Stachel and Aronson discuss the iterative process that brought them to their current design and the challenges of creating a modular device that can see use in profoundly different contexts.
Energy is central to many causes that funders care about, but it is one of the most underappreciated issues in 21st-century philanthropy.