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Powering Education: The Impact of Solar Lamps on Educational Attainment in Rural Kenya


  • Researchers:
    • Fadi Hassan and Paolo Lucchino

  • Partners:
    • Givewatts, ENEL Foundation, Rome and Nairobi Hubs of the Global Shapers Community of the WEF.

  • Location:
    • Kenya

  • Sample:
    • 300 pupils in 7th Grade in rural Kenya

  • Timeline:
    • 2013-2014

  • Theme:
    • Energy access and education

  • Description:
    • This project is part of a Global Shapers initiative and it is the winner of the Coca-Cola Challenge of the World Economic Forum. In this project we run a randomized control trial (RCT) in Kenya in order to assess the impact of energy access on education performance. The novel experiment aims to increase our awareness and knowledge on this key development issue. We distribute solar lamps to pupils in off-grid areas and measure the change of grades between the treatment and the control group. We also monitor the effect that the lamp has on expenditure on alternative lighting sources and the time use of household members. Once our identification strategy accounts for potential spillovers, we are able to find a positive and significant intention-to-treat effect as well as a positive and significant spillover effect on control students in mathematics. Moreover, we find that increasing treatment intensity by 10% raises the average grade of a class by up to 5 points. Finally, we find a statistically significant effect on savings and short time effects on study time, employment for fathers, and work at home for mothers.