Impact Assessment:
Light Up Oecusse, Timor-Leste - Phase One & Two

Jan 2011 to Jun 2011
Sally Bolton

By Sally Bolton
Communications Advisor

The project:
Light up Oecusse, Timor-Leste Phase Two
Technologies used:
d.light S10 Solar lantern, d.light S250 Solar lantern
Local partner:
Fundasaun Esperanza Enclave Oecusse

We sent 992 d.light solar lanterns to Oecusse, and worked with our local partner, Fundasaun Esperanza Enclave Oecusse (FEEO), to make sure these solar lights reached remote villages in the enclave.

Kopernik Fellow Michael Woon (October 2010 - January 2011) designed a baseline lighting survey, and worked with the FEEO team to implement it. Sally Bolton (January - June 2011) took over the baseline survey from Michael, and worked with FEEO to complete a follow-up survey.

Oecusse is an isolated enclave on the north coast of Timor, bordered by the Indonesian territory of West Timor. Very few people in Oecusse have access to electricity and 92 percent of households rely on fuel-powered lamps (mainly kerosene) for light. When they can afford it, most people in Timor burn 1.5 – 2 litres of kerosene a week. One litre of kerosene costs about $1.25 in towns, but up to $2.50 in remote areas.

FEEO staff conducted baseline surveys with 258 people who purchased solar lanterns.  Follow up surveys were conducted with 55 people who had participated in the baseline survey.  Typically surveys were conducted after people had been using solar lights for between two and four and a half months.

The baseline survey confirmed that kerosene lamps are the primary source of lighting at night, but most people are not happy with this situation because:

  • the kerosene was expensive,
  • the kerosene lamps produced black smoke, which made people sick, and
  • the kerosene lamps provide poor quality light.

The d.light solar lamps have significantly reduced, but not completely replaced, the use of kerosene lamps in the households surveyed. Before buying solar lights, households used an average of three kerosene lamps, although some used as many as five. After buying solar lights:

  • 76 percent of households reported that they no longer used kerosene lamps, and
  • the households which continued to use kerosene lamps were using fewer of them.

The solar lanterns were immediately very popular. They presented a clear value proposition, as they reduced weekly spending on kerosene, batteries, candles or gas, and quickly paid for themselves. Users told us that the solar lights offer a better quality of light than kerosene lanterns, do not produce smoke, and are simple to use.

Full report: