Just recently, three students from Maastricht University travelled the long way south west to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they represented Liter of Light Netherlands.
During their short stay of nine days, Katharina Schmitt (24), a Master student in Development Economics, Anda Petre (21) and Michaela Wrede (22), both 3rd year students in International Business , worked hard to establish a stable base for Liter of Light in Argentina in cooperation with the local NGO Manos Verdes. Next to this, they were able to live an intensive experience into the Argentine way of life.
What is Liter of Light Netherlands?
Liter of Light is a worldwide movement aiming to provide households that either do not have access to electricity or cannot afford it with a sustainable and free source of light. Liter of Light Netherlands is an ecologic foundation set up by Maastricht students in the spring of 2013. It consists of an international group of students, who participate in it on a voluntary basis.
Liter of Light Netherlands is included in the European network and collaborates with Liter of Light Switzerland, Spain and UK and the worldwide Liter of Light movement. The main goals of these initiatives are to raise awareness about the issue of electricity scarcity, organise projects in suitable countries as well as fundraising events in order to finance all activities.
Off to Argentina
Liter of Light Netherlands’ first project took place from 26 October – 3 November in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the long months of research and information gathering for the project, Liter of Light Netherlands built up a good relationship with a local environmental NGO, Manos Verdes. This preparation work gave Liter of Light Netherlands a better view on the local circumstances and allowed its members to access first hand data and knowledge about Argentina.
The information laid perfect grounds for a successful project planning – in terms of structure, logistics and finances. The three students flew to Argentina with a triple mission: to start the solar bottle movement in Argentina, facilitate the long-term operation and define the strategic relationship between the Argentine and Dutch collaborators.
Presenting the project at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch Embassy in Buenos Aires
In order to acquire as many supporters as possible, the project was presented to the Dutch and German Chambers of Commerce as well to the Dutch ambassador. Furthermore, the students presented the project to local and international schools and to the University of Buenos Aires. Their initiative was received with very positive feedback from Argentinian students, many of whom said they were willing to join the local movement as volunteers.
Recruiting volunteers at the University of Buenos Aires
The cooperation with Manos Verdes and Liter of Light Switzerland contributed greatly to the success of Liter of Light Netherlands’ pilot project. Additionally, Manos Verdes decided to include Liter of Light Netherlands as an individual project within their project portfolio, because of the initiatives’ common concern about environmental pollution and efforts in finding sustainable recycling solutions.
Liter of Light Netherlands and Manos Verdes set up an organisational framework for future long-term activities in Argentina such as bottle-building workshops for volunteers and projects to determine the market demand for solar bottle bulbs.
Five Maastricht University students involved in Liter of Light Netherlands in Buenos Aires: Katharina Schmitt, Anda Petre, Michaela Wrede (Liter of Light Netherlands), Max Weynand and Max Völler (exchange students in Buenos Aires)
Currently, the market demand for light appears to be higher in the rural areas of Argentina. Liter of Light Netherlands is therefore planning bottle implementations in the northern region of Argentina. Although the three Dutch students’ efforts were very productive during their short stay in Argentina, a lot more can and needs to be done.
Liter of Light Netherlands will therefore continue to set up fundraising projects and research activities about new forms and locations to install the bottles.
We are looking for YOU!
In order to keep up with current project and activities and carry out future ones, we are looking for motivated people, organisations and sponsors who wish to support us in any way.
Additionally, we are currently searching for a variety of people to fill positions not only in the Board but also in our Fundraising, Project, Media and Legal committees.
Is your interest sparked? Great!
By Michaela Wrede
Liter of Light Netherlands