Would you start a business if you had to pay $1.9M just to get connected to the electric utility? That’s 40 times average per capita income in America! In Haiti, the World Bank estimates that a business would need to invest $19,500 just to be connected to a reliable source of electricity—which is also 40 times average per capita income in Haiti. When people ask how or why 80% of the population is unemployed or underemployed, these lesser-known realities help illustrate the nature of the problem.
It’s difficult to imagine life without electricity. I clearly remember the 2003 Northeast blackout and the havoc it wreaked on transportation, communication and water supply. My wife and I had to travel from Chicago to Detroit for a family wedding that weekend. When we finally arrived, I was immediately tasked with driving halfway across the state to buy hundreds of pounds of ice for the florist and caterers! Looking back we laugh, but the cost of living in today’s world without electricity is far greater than the cost of living within constant reach of 110 volts. It’s no longer a laughing matter when people can’t access basic healthcare or clean water for lack of a few watts. One way the Paulos Group engages in Gospel ministry is by confronting these challenges head-on and cultivating proven and innovative solutions to poverty.