Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and the KNVB today announced a three year partnership, which will be built around the creation of 90 so called solar ‘light centers’ across the African & South American continents. Light centers are areas of approx 1000m2, or the size of a small soccer pitch, which are lit using a new generation of highly efficient solar powered LED lighting.
The idea is to create areas of light for rural communities which live without electricity thus effectively ‘extending the day’ and creating numerous opportunities for social, sporting and economic activities in the evening. These new light centers will enable and support the KNVB’s WorldCoaches program in Africa and South America. The WorldCoaches program trains football coaches in using football for social development, focusing on communities in developing countries.
Bert van Oostveen, General Secretary KNVB, is very pleased with the new partnership. “Since the start of WorldCoaches in 2009, the KNVB has trained over 3.800 coaches in more than fifteen countries in Asia, Africa and South America. The Philips Light Centers will enable the training of even more coaches. This new partnership of Philips and KNVB emphasizes the innovative power of these two Dutch brands and is a great addition to our WorldCoaches program.”
“By teaming up, Philips and the KNVB join efforts in helping develop rural communities in Africa and South America’ said Ronald de Jong Chief Market leader and member of the Philips executive committee. ‘Together we now have a really exciting opportunity to demonstrate the power of football and technical innovation to the world. We consider this a great proof point of Philips providing locally relevant solutions in growth markets and improving peoples lives”.
The partnership will cover in total some 90 light centers across Africa and South America, the first of which are scheduled for installation in early 2013, will be focused on schools which are closely linked to villages and towns in off-grid or semi-grid areas (this can also include parts of cities).
Some 1.6 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity. For people living near the equator, darkness falls around 7pm all year round, slowing down or completely stopping many vital tasks.