In October 2011, Panasonic installed a Life Innovation Container (LIC) in the remote village of Mbola located in the heart of Tanzania where electric power is not yet available. Six months before that, in April 2011, Panasonic also provided the village with solar lanterns. We interviewed the people of Mbola to find out how they were using these solar lanterns. The solar lanterns were donated to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tanzania for its project in Mbola. This is a report on what has happened in the more than 18 months since the donation was made.
Mbola Primary School teacher "We use one inside the classroom, and another is turned down low and placed outside to improve security."
Homemaker of farm family (1) "We use it to provide light in the room, or when the children are reading and writing. Recently, there have been some thefts of these solar lanterns in the neighborhood, so we keep a close eye on them when they are charging."
Homemaker of farm family (2) "We were using kerosene lamps, but the solar lanterns are so much safer, and they are easier to carry. I use it when cooking."
Of the homes we visited, there were one or two lanterns in each. Every home was making good use of the solar lanterns, and many of people asked for more of them. Though they use them for indoor illumination at night, they also mentioned that they would be very happy if the lamps could charge more rapidly.
In October 2011, Panasonic donated a Life Innovation Container (LIC) in the remote village of Mbola located in the heart of Tanzania where electric power is not yet available. A year after the donation, we visited Mbola to conduct periodic inspection on the LIC and observe how the unit was being used.
First, we checked on each of the devices on the control panel and then on the status of the rechargeable batteries as part of the regular maintenance routine.
Then, we collected the data from the monitors attached to the rechargeable batteries and performed other operations for doing analysis back in Japan, followed by a check of the external equipment, such as the solar panel, connecting cables.
We found that the LIC was functioning normally without any problems.
The LIC itself is located near the Mbola Primary School and is being used to provide power for the school's computer lab. It is also being used by the village residents to charge their mobile phones.
One of the people using the mobile phone charging service said that he used the service twice a week.
Before the LIC was installed, the village had no electric power, and they used kerosene lamps and candles for illumination. With the introduction of the LIC, the villagers came to know the benefits of having free access to electric power.
Panasonic has donated one Life Innovation Container (LI Container) to the Millennium Promise Alliance, an NPO working towards the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the Tanzanian inland village of Mbola. The LI Container will be used to benefit the lifestyles of many people living in an environment without normal electricity supplies.
A donation ceremony was held in Mbola Village on October 24, with those in attendance including the Commissioner of the Tabora Region; Mbola Village project managers; Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi, Ambassador of Japan to Tanzania; and almost 1,000 residents of the village.
Representing Panasonic, Executive Officer Hidetoshi Osawa offered a greeting in which he expressed his thanks to those attending the event, and said: "This LI Container can be used in a number of ways, including providing audiovisual education to children, giving local people greater access to information, and for mobile phone recharging businesses. We sincerely hope that it will help realize a more prosperous, sustainable lifestyle for the people of this village."
In the second half of the ceremony, electricity generated by the LI Container was used to power a DVD showing for children from the Mbola elementary school, featuring footage of children in Japan. An "origami armor" demonstration was also given, using Japanese newspapers. This was followed by a performance by the Mbola elementary school students of a song they had written themselves in gratitude for the LI Container, adding to a memorable day of cultural exchange between Japan and Tanzania.
Finally, General Manager Michiko Ogawa of the Corporate Citizenship Group gave a piano recital of the Tanzania Tanzania, a famous song familiar to all Tanzanian people. The locals all sang along, creating a most pleasant atmosphere in which the ceremony could come to a close.
At the end of March, Panasonic donated a Life Innovation Container to Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered widespread devastation in the recent Great East Japan Earthquake.
The Lifestyle Innovation Container is a full package of the Panasonic Group's energy creation, energy storage, and energy saving technologies into a single, 20-foot container. The system consists of solar panels, EV batteries, and charge-discharge control apparatus, and its development was headed by the Corporate Division for Promoting Systems & Equipment Business. This technology was originally developed for developing and emerging nations without electrical infrastructures, but this special donation was agreed in response to a request from Miyagi Prefecture following the extensive damage sustained in the disaster. The donated Lifestyle Innovation Container was installed at the municipal disaster response headquarters in the town of Minami-sanriku, which was almost totally destroyed by the tsunami.
The container will supply electricity for communications equipment and computers at the Minami-sanriku disaster response headquarters. It will also be used to charge mobile phones and otherwise provide support to those refugees forced to live at the Minami-sanriku General Gymnasium Bayside Arena, where the local disaster response headquarters is located.
The 18th edition of the One World Festival, "an international festival to exchange, interact, and cooperate with others around the world," was held on February 5 and 6, and attended by a grand total of over 10,000 members of the public and students. As part of the event, General Manager Wataru Yokogawa of the Corporate Citizenship Group and Manager Hiroyuki Kakuchi of SANYO Electric joined Masamichi Yamagami of AMDA Multisectoral & Integrated Development Services (an NPO) for a BOP-oriented discussion on using Life Innovation Containers and Eneloop lanterns to help provide aid to developing nations. The discussion was chaired by Hirohisa Seike, board member of Japan International Food for the Hungry.