SolarAid: Eradicating Poverty through Solar Lights

Happy hump day everyone! Today we’re featuring another one of our amazing nonprofit partners.

SolarAid is an international charity that combats poverty and climate change by providing access to solar lights in some of the most remote regions of the world and building a movement to eradicate the kerosene lamp.

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What’s the problem?

598 million people in Africa alone have no access to electricity. Without electricity families have no clean source of light, leaving millions to rely on expensive and dangerous alternatives. Many use homemade kerosene lamps, which are a poor source of light: they emit toxic black smoke, eat up to 15% of a family’s income, and are extremely hazardous. Children can’t study at night, the work day ends prematurely and indoor air pollution presents a serious health hazard.

What’s the solution?

Michael Phiri

SolarAid is working to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020 by selling solar lights through its social enterprise, SunnyMoney. With a solar light, everything changes. These little lamps are safe, clean and affordable. They give off hours of light in the evening so families can earn, learn and feel safe after dark. Just one lamp can transform the fortunes of an entire family and is the first step on an energy ladder to full electrification. They are not the answer to all life’s energy problems, but they are available right now and will ensure the very poorest can begin to develop and prosper without having to wait for a grid system that may never come.

How does it work?

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SolarAid takes the time to travel to remote rural communities, educate people about the benefits of solar, instill trust and build demand. They help get lights to the people that need them most. If they are unable to afford them, the SolarAid team thinks of new and innovative ways to help them get on the energy ladder, such as pay-as-you-go solar.

  1. School Campaigns are the catalyst, getting the market started in a specific area by offering affordable study lights at a promotional price
  2. Agents and Shops with dealers and distributors in key regions develop the market further by selling and distributing the full range of affordable solar lights and products.
  3. Driving Demand via new products, promotions, advertising, media campaigns, brand building and customer care build demand for off-grid lighting.

Why sell lights instead of just giving them away?

SolarAid4SolarAid is pioneering a truly sustainable model. Selling lights allows money to be reinvested back into their work, encourages job creation and ensures money stays in the local economy. Essentially, by selling rather than giving the lights away, SolarAid is building the necessary foundation for an emerging solar power market. And with increasing demand for solar, other players will begin to enter this new market and create even more access to sustainable energy than ever before. SolarAid’s work will reach far beyond the lights that SunnyMoney sells – it will eventually help light up an entire continent and leave a lasting energy legacy.

How to get involved

SolarAid allocates 94% of total donations towards charitable work, and for every $1 donated, $2 more are generated through SunnyMoney. Donate here!

You could also organize your own fundraiser to help cover the costs of delivering solar lights to those in need. Alternatively, you can also create a charitable gift registry to support SolarAid’s amazing work!

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