The Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin (UUCE), located 50 miles northwest of Chicago, has a long history of fighting poverty. Since 2007, members of the Church have partnered with FINCA to empower thousands of low-income families to build more resilient lives by increasing access to microfinance loans.
“UUCE is committed to fostering a more just and compassionate world,” said Ms. Elizabeth Olson, a member of the UUCE Board of Trustees. “Working to alleviate poverty and improve living standards for marginalized populations is central to our mission.”
Now the Church is tackling poverty in a different way.
Last year, UUCE members participated in a seminar with FINCA staff where they learned about BrightLife. BrightLife is FINCA’s program in Uganda that increases access to clean energy products, like clean cookstoves and solar lighting. Members learned how pervasive energy poverty is. For example, nearly 1 billion people don’t have access to electricity and an estimated 58.3 million people use kerosene to light their homes. Kerosene use has been linked to lung cancer, pneumonia, heart disease and other health problems. Kerosene lamps can be easily knocked over and is a leading cause of house fires. In addition, almost 3 billion people use traditional methods to cook their meals every day, usually involving solid fuels like charcoal. Yet, an estimated 2.6 million people die every year from illnesses caused by cooking with these harmful fuels.
The Church realized the value in providing clean energy to the poor and unlocking its affordability through pay-as-you-go loans. That’s why, in addition to supporting microfinance, UUCE decided to support BrightLife as well. Through FINCA’s BrightLife program, donors like UUCE are helping thousands of Ugandans access innovative clean energy technology to improve the health and well-being of their family’s lives.
By giving to FINCA, we are able to turn mission into action and tangibly serve those most in need.