LOVE FOR LIFE is a Berlin-based non-profit organization founded in 2014. Our mission is to create conscious, sustainable change to empower people and to protect nature. The Organization does this through its three complementary spheres of action: Consciousness Work, Direct Action, Building Life-Sustaining Systems.
Within the Direct Action sphere, LOVE FOR LIFE implements social and development projects in crisis areas that empower people to fulfill their rights and to lead self-determined lives in dignity and peace. Thereby we connect the social, ecological, and economic dimension of sustainability and the creation of development possibilities with the protection of the natural world. As a result, we contribute to the global realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Embedded in this sphere, LOVE FOR LIFE creates sustainable access to renewable energy ensuring the economic and energy independence of indigenous families in remote locations facing newly imposed threats and dependencies on the western world. The work is based on a bottom-up approach and on the self-formulated vision of the indigenous peoples to strengthen their cultural, social and economic self-determination as well as to support them in their role as guardians of one of our planet’s last natural treasures.
Self-determination and empowerment are at the heart of the project’s goals because we recognize that sustainable development and successful counteractions to the destruction of the rainforest must include strategies developed and sustained by the indigenous people themselves. Access to solar energy provides the rainforest communities with new sustainable development possibilities and with the ability to make choices based on the long-term survival of their families, the fulfillment of their rights, and the protection of their ancestral homelands.
Over the last four years, LOVE FOR LIFE has carried out pioneer work with the development and implementation of the solar project IMAGINE LIGHT together with four indigenous nations in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Altogether, a local solar engineer and 15 indigenous people were trained, and 125 solar home systems installed solar-electrifying 16 remote rainforest communities. Based on the high level of local empowerment facilitated through the project’s intensive capacity building program (both technical and organizational), the indigenous-led partner organization continues to provide sustainable access to clean solar energy to many more communities and thus, carries the project into a brighter future for indigenous people in the Amazon. Based on this experience, LOVE FOR LIFE is expanding its efforts to work together with the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people who face the same challenges as the Amazonian nations, as it is the case for the Cabécar indigenous people living in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica.
Shine Campaign Commitment
Through the IMAGINE LIGHT project, LOVE FOR LIFE is committing to target last mile populations, as the Cabécar-indigenous people living in small mountain villages in the tropical rainforest of Talamanca. Their territory is accessible only by multi-day trips on foot or by helicopter. Most of the Cabécar people of Costa Rica do not have the possibility of earning a regular income, nor use a monetary system, but rather live from the exchange of natural resources and subsistence agriculture. Countrywide they number about 14.000 inhabitants. Specifically, in the district of Telire only 29.68% of the 6.200 Cabécar people living there have access to electricity. The extreme difficult access of their rainforest territories in the mountain region has made them one of the most marginalized populations in the processes of national development and in the extension of social programs to meet their basic human needs. The only source of light for the families are kerosene burners and, in some rare cases, candles.
Thus, by 2021 LOVE FOR LIFE is committing to expand solar energy access to the most vulnerable and hardest to reach indigenous communities in South and Central America, as well as to create organizational and community empowerment. More specifically we commit to:
An investment of 2 million euros to enable clean energy access and sustainable development, strengthening the cultural, social, and economic self-determination of indigenous people in remote tropical rainforest communities and to build local capacity and infrastructures for long term project sustainability.
Provide the technology and equipment for the installation of more than 700 complete solar home systems for indigenous families living in the most remote rainforest communities in Talamanca, Costa Rica
Set up a local infrastructure for sustaining the project in the long term that includes strengthening the capacity of local partner organizations as well as training local engineers and indigenous people to become solar technicians, who then also train each end-user to operate and maintain their solar home systems safely, as well as the establishment of community solar committees for an active and coordinated participation of the beneficiaries strengthening a sense of ownership and accountability.
Develop alternative energy payment models for the most vulnerable. Based on our experience working with indigenous peoples in the Amazons, we confirm what is stated by Sustainable Energy for All: business-as-usual solutions are not working to deliver energy access for all. Thus, for the most vulnerable and economically poorest people (e.g. most indigenous rainforest communities do not have a monetary system), creative and alternative energy models have to be built together with the target group.