Project information

Light up Africa

SolarAid currently distributes solar lights in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda, increasing education, improving health and reducing poverty. Our goal is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020.

October 2014 - January 2015

Charity information: SolarAid

SolarAid logo
  • Need


    The kerosene lamp is choking Africaʼs health, wealth and education potential. Every African home deserves safe, clean solar light - light to learn, light to earn and freedom to thrive. Kerosene is brutally expensive, costing on average 15% of a household's weekly budget.
    The toxic fumes from burning kerosene are extremely bad for people's health and one kerosene lamp contributes a tonne of carbon emissions. Kerosene lamps are also dangerous - burns and fatalities are common place.


    Solar lights provide a clean and safe alternative to kerosene lamps:

    1. Increasing household income, as sunshine is free;
    2. Improving education by enabling children to study after dusk;
    3. Improving the health of families by removing the toxic fumes from burning kerosene;
    4. Providing more time that can be used in the evenings for income generating activities.

    Furthermore by selling solar lights we leverage local enterprise and help create a market. This is more sustainable than aid.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To sell solar lights at a fair price for rural families who use kerosene lamps or candles for light.


    » We work with local schools and educate Headteachers about the benefit of solar lights as well as the range of products that are available.
    » The Headteachers are trusted members of the community who share this information with other teachers and students. We support them with resources.
    » Students inform their parents who can then place an order for a solar light through the school. We then distribute lights through these schools.
    » We enable local entrepreneurs to sell solar lights through their own businesses, providing their community with more opportunities to purchase lights.

    What success will look like

    Success will be selling solar lights at scale in communities. We have sold and distributed over 1 million solar lights; we aim to get another million shining by April 2015.

  • Impact


    With each solar light sold a child is able to study 1 extra hour a day; families save an average of $75 a year by not spending money on other sources of energy: savings are commonly spent on better food and educational resources; families' health is improved from reduced indoor air-pollution; and the use of at least one kerosene lamp is prevented, equating to 1 tonne of CO2 emissions in its lifetime.
    We constantly collect and share feedback from families on the impact of solar lights.


    Trust is the biggest barrier that prevents families from buying a solar light. We have lessened this issue by working through Headteachers who are trusted members of the local community.

    Fake and poor solar products are commonplace. SolarAid has therefore set up a brand, SunnyMoney, to promote quality solar products that meet minimum standards and have warranties.
    SunnyMoney is product neutral and distributes the best quality solar lamps available in the global market place.


    We update the light sales on our website every day. We fill our thank you letters with up-to-date impact information. Donors can opt to receive a monthly e-newsletter about our work, as well as learning more through our social media streams.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 SunnyMoney Distributing lights in rural Africa
  • Background


    We are working in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Senegal and very recently Uganda.


    Rural families in Africa with no access to electricity who use kerosene lamps, disposable batteries or candles for lighting.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    SolarAid expertise is in solar technology and understanding solar products. Our focus, however, is on "the customer" i.e. families who use kerosene lamps for light, and understanding their needs. Rather than manufacture products we review the wide range available and select those most appropriate, of high quality, and an affordable price.

    We are the largest distributor of solar lights in Africa and have a proven track record. We are working to build a sustainable market for this technology.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Linda Wamune

    Operations Director - Kenya. Linda has ten years’ sales experience from the water industry and has been leading SunnyMoney in Kenya since 2011.

    Sarah Bentley

    Operations Director - Zambia. Sarah worked at the UN World Food Programme in Zambia before taking over SunnyMoney's operations in 2012.

    Mary Batterman

    Operations Director - Tanzania. Mary joined n 2012, first running the School Campaign before becoming O.D. Before this she was with the Peace Corps.

    Francois Gordon

    Operations Director - Malawi. Francois recently joined the Malawi team in January 2014. He has a strong background in social enterprise in Africa.

One million solar lights shinning in Africa


Will give 10 families access to safe, clean solar

"If you do the math, kerosene is expensive. Solar enables many ways of saving money. You just buy it, it doesn't have problems."

Noorkisaruni Osono, Kenyan customer