De-Risking Humanitarian Investments

October 31, 2018

Mercy Corps announced earlier this month that it will consider only Lighting Global Quality Verified (QV) products when it procures standalone solar energy systems for its non U.S. based clients. With this decision, Mercy Corps joins many institutions around the world that rely on Lighting Global’s quality verification process to help them identify products that will meet customers’ expectations.

Mercy Corps is a humanitarian organization that has provided lifesaving assistance to over 220 million people worldwide over the last 39 years. Mercy Corps is committed to market based approaches to energy access and directly procures only where humanitarian need outpaces the private sector's ability to meet demand. By procuring products that meet our Quality Standards, aid organizations like Mercy Corps have confidence in the quality and performance of the off-grid energy kits they are providing to people in need.

The Quality Assurance team oversees all aspects of the quality verification process, from developing test plans and sampling products to reviewing the test results for each product to determine whether it meets the Quality Standards. The rigorous Quality Standards evaluate product characteristics that relate directly to consumer satisfaction, such as durability, brightness, and solar run time. Qualification testing is backed by market surveillance to confirm that products continue to meet the standards throughout the two-year validity period.

After testing, the Quality Assurance team provides expert guidance to inform improvements in product design. This includes benchmarking of the product’s performance against its peers, which guides the work of product designers and drives innovation.

With relief aid transitioning toward development, it is imperative to consider how interventions influence markets. Deployment of cheaper, poor-quality products can undermine consumer confidence, resulting in market spoilage. We encourage you to look over our new Technical Note, “Procurement of Stand-alone Solar Kits for Humanitarian Aid,” to learn more about the value of the quality verification process for humanitarian aid organizations and the off-grid solar market as a whole.

Please let us know if you are already seeking QV products in your tenders or are considering doing so in the future. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,
The Lighting Global Quality Assurance team