About the Blog

Hi. Thanks for visiting.

As the CEO of SolarAid – and our social enterprise, SunnyMoney – I have the enormous privilege of leading this extraordinary charity.

We are tackling the world’s two biggest challenges, poverty and climate change, by harnessing the world’s biggest and most plentiful resource, the sun!

We do most of this work through our company, SunnyMoney, because we passionately believe that business models are more sustainable, scale-able and ultimately respectful (of the people we serve)than traditional aid models (a theme I’ll keep coming back to in the blog).

SunnyMoney sells solar lights to some of the world’s poorest people.

Around 1.6 billion people do not have access to grid electricity. When the sun goes down they have a choice: to live in darkness (and stop all productive activity like studying or catching up on work) or, most of the time, to use a kerosene lamp.

Kerosene lamps are brutal. They kill hundreds of thousands of people by polluting their lungs or causing house fires.

But almost worst of all, they are shockingly expensive to run, trapping people in poverty. Here in Kenya, the average rural household spends a staggering 15% of their budget on fuel for lighting. No wonder that Bill Gates recently said, “If you could pick just one thing to lower the price of to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy.”

SolarAid believes that by supporting, encouraging and catalysing the private sector, we will see a day when every village across Africa is lit up by beautiful, clean and powerful solar lights.

Indeed, our BHAG is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by the end of this decade.

When this has been achieved, the impact on levels of poverty in Africa will be truly profound.

Lilian Achieng Ungwe, Aged 8, switching on the light in her classroom for the first time. This year, SunnyMoney has plans to bring solar power to hundreds more schools. Photo: Chris Harris, The Times

 

 

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