Shining a light on energy poverty with SolarBuddy

FCM Solar Buddy

As one of the largest global travel management companies, FCM strives to take the lead in developing innovative technology and giving our clients the best possible service. Not only are we setting the agenda for industry topics like NDC and distribution of travel content. We also aim to set an example in terms of our approach to CSR - and giving back to the community is a core ingredient of our corporate culture. 

Our latest initiative is to partner with SolarBuddy, a charity dedicated to illuminating the future of those living in energy poverty.

Approximately 18% of the world’s population has no access to electricity - which equates to 1.4 billion people living in the dark. This severely impacts education, health, the economy and the environment. SolarBuddy’s mission is to help break this cycle and improve the educational opportunities of six million children living in darkness, by providing them with solar lights to study after dusk. The gift of a SolarBuddy solar light helps children living in energy poverty to continue studying long after the sun goes down, improving their education outcomes and overall health and well-being.

Over the last year, delegates and staff attending various FCM conferences and events have been building SolarBuddy lights as part of the conference program. Each kit comes with instructions, and the lights take around 10 minutes to make.

For example, staff at our global conference last year in Berlin built 2,000 SolarBuddy lights, which were shipped to children in Papua New Guinea and South Africa. And at FCM’s recent Focus conference, delegates made 400 SolarBuddy lights which have been sent to children in Madagascar.

Our clients can also join SolarBuddy’s corporate program, via FCM Meetings & Events, our sister division that specialises in global event management. FCM Meetings & Events can arrange for a SolarBuddy light assembling session to be included within a corporate conference program or team-building event. The SolarBuddy light kits are branded with your company's logo, and the activity of building a light not only fosters more meaningful experiences for participants but also inspires them to spread the word about energy poverty.

Early stage evaluations indicate that children with a solar light are studying up to 78% longer. Solar lighting is a sustainable option that minimises the reliance on the burning of toxic kerosene, dangerous campfires, and expensive battery-powered torches, enabling children to do homework after dark, as well as supporting small businesses and improving safety and security of local communities.