Brighter World Initiative

Beyond delivering electricity, electric cooperatives are committed to creating new opportunities and supporting programs that help people and communities thrive.

And now, through the new Brighter World International Electrification Initiative, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are extending our gifts, and the cooperative way, to bring first-time access to electricity to people in the rural village of Laphía, Bolivia.

Thirteen linemen representing seven N.C. co-ops have volunteered to build five miles of power line infrastructure that will connect this central Bolivian village to the power grid. More than 68 buildings will be connected, including a school, bringing new opportunities and advantages to the 120 residents of the rural, agricultural community.


At an elevation of 11,600 feet, the people of Laphía subsist by growing potatoes and flowers. Most live in modest homes of adobe brick and thatch roofs, and none have access to food refrigeration or the ability to use electric devices for household chores or to aid in their economic growth.

More than one billion people live without electric power around the world, according to the International Energy Agency, and only 66 percent of rural Bolivians had access to electricity as of 2016.

According to village leaders, the promise of electricity will create new economic and educational opportunities and a stronger community, as young people will be able to stay in the village, rather than moving to the city. Connection to the grid will also provide indoor lighting for the school building, as well as extended access to a small computer lab.

The project is a collaborative initiative supported by all 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina. Seven co-ops in North Carolina will send volunteers to build the infrastructure in the spring of 2019. Those cooperatives are:

Blue Ridge Energy, Lenoir
Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, Tarboro
Pee Dee Electric, Wadesboro
Randolph EMC, Asheboro
Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Aulander
South River EMC, Dunn
Surry-Yadkin EMC, Dobson

NRECA International works to develop and implement successful, sustainable, scalable rural electrification programs that improve education, healthcare, safety and economic opportunity. The organization has brought electricity to more than 160 million people in 44 developing countries.

If you would like to support the Brighter World Initiative, please consider contributing to NRECA International. Note that your contribution is intended for the North Carolina initiative.

Chris Spears, CEO of South River EMC

“Electric cooperatives in North Carolina were founded to bring power to rural areas, and this project reinforces our commitment to supporting people and communities and improving quality of life.”

Chris Spears, CEO of South River EMC