FRIDAY 15 JULY, 2011 |
Solar Sisters Bring Light To Africa
Solar Sister is a social enterprise training and supporting women in Africa in
the creation of solar micro-businesses that help address rampant energy poverty
through the sale of simple solar powered lights.
Based on a direct-sales network concept, the Solar
program helps these women to generate income, and through their
efforts, brings cleaner and safer lighting into rural African communities. The women
primarily use their networks of family, friends and neighbours to build their
solar lighting businesses and also sell solar
powered cell phone chargers that help enhance communication facilities in their
We tend to take lighting for granted; but in these communities, lighting
a home can be a very expensive exercise and one that impacts heavily on
Kerosene is still widely used in poorer parts of Africa as a fuel for lighting;
the burning of which generates nitrogen dioxide, benzene and toluene. Nitrogen dioxide
can impact the respiratory system, benzene is carcinogenic and toluene is also toxic.
In addition to being expensive - up
to 30% of a family's income may be spent on energy - kerosene combustion also generates high levels of carbon dioxide
It's estimated 780 million women and children globally breathe kerosene fumes, inhaling the equivalent of smoke from two packs of cigarettes a day.
Currently, there are over 100 Solar Sisters operating in 3 sub-Saharan African
countries. Between them, they have brought solar powered light to over 4,300
People interested in supporting the initiative can assist by providing the seed capital
to provide a ‘business in a bag’ -
all the tools a Solar Sister will need to kick-start her own business. The
organisation says $46 of economic impact is generated for every $1 invested in a Solar Sister Entrepreneur.
The organisation also offers an option to buy solar lights to be given to school
children so they can study at night.
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