Recently in News Category
Our Digital Content Project Manager, Ralph, recently had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with our colleague Brave, who works as Field Coordinator for the SunnyMoney team in Malawi. They met in a cafe to discuss, on camera, solar power in Malawi and Brave's own experiences with kerosene.
Ralph has uploaded some great pics onto his blog. We can't wait to see the finished film.
"I had a fantastic time filming with @BraveMhonie and Bradbell.tv at Cafe Candid in Angel. Brave lives in Malawi, working as a SunnyMoney Field Coordinator. He spends 80% of his time out of the office; selling solar lights and helping us achieve our BHAG. Here Brave is demonstrating an S1 solar light to the camera..." Read on and see the pics at sunshineisonline.tumblr.com...
We're delighted to announce that our brand new website will be launched later this month.
The site will more accurately reflect our goal: to eradicate kerosene lamps from Africa by 2020. And it will contain exciting and interesting content from all of us. Be it staff or supporter, we want to achieve our ambition together.
So keep a look out and in the meantime please watch and share our new film:
Our CEO, Steve Andrews, is in New York helping judge at the finals of the Hult Global Case Challenge. The HGCC challenges students from universities around the world to come up with sustainable business models and strategies to help tackle some of the world's greatest social problems.
Our social enterprise, SunnyMoney, is one of three organisations that will benefit from this year's challenge, as students seek to scale up our enterprise and help eradicate the kerosene lantern from Africa by 2020.
Follow Steve or visit his blog for the latest insight from New York:
"I'm sitting in the reception area of the Sheraton Towers Hotel, five minutes walk from Times Square, New York.
In the last couple of hours, I've been introduced to students from France, Dubai, Pakistan, the USA, Denmark and Iraq. And over the next few hours, students from many other countries will continue to arrive. The excitement is building. The formal proceedings start at 7pm tonight.
They're all coming to do one thing. To give the pitch of their lives and walk away as winners of the 3rd Hult Global Case Challenge..." Read on at sunshineisfree.info
Our Education Manager, Kathy Hill, has just returned to the UK following two weeks working alongside our Sunny Schools Kenya team. Our solar education programme, Sunny Schools, is being trialled there.
Kathy's latest blog recaps on how solar power is transforming Oloikarere Primary School in Narok county:
"When we visited Oloikarere Primary school in Narok county, we had to wait more than two hours for the Headteacher and students to arrive. They had been to a games tournament at a nearby school. When I say nearby, it was 8km away. And they had to walk. So after a day of classes, the students had walked 16km and played sports for several hours. And yet they still managed to give us a wonderfully warm welcome. It was certainly worth the wait..." Read on at sunnykathy.tumblr.com...
Our Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Richard Turner, spoke recently with round-the-world cyclist, Sean Conway, on continuing his 18,000 mile adventure - despite being hit by a truck:
"It was with great relief I spoke to Sean Conway today. Sean is attempting to break the record for cycling round the world and raise £100,000 for our work in Zambia.
As you may of read on his social media feed he was hit by a truck on his USA leg of his epic journey a few days ago. He is currently in Arkansas..." Read on...Tweet
Here's the latest news from good friends at Sunny Schools.
We recently visited Great Kingshill Primary School in High Wycombe. Our mission was to present the Year 6s with a SolarAid challenge: to lead an enterprising campaign in their school that would help to Light a School in Africa.
During our visit we demonstrated how the solar lights SolarAid distribute in Africa enable families and communities to better their standard of living through replacing dirty, dangerous and expensive kerosene lamps. The two Year 6 classes soon cottoned onto the benefits of solar technology to children's education. The picture below shows a short performance demonstrating the difficulty of studying by the dim light of a kerosene lamp.
The challenge we have given the Great Kingshill Yr 6s is to engage the rest of their school and local community in a fund-raising campaign. Whilst at the school we explored how to build a creative campaign and looked at persuasive speaking and writing literacy skills. We got some plans rolling for how they might raise £1000, but not before having to reassure the students that this was actually going to happen... They were really excited to know that this wasn't just a practice writing activity - it was real!
The money they raise will enable a Kenyan school to gain access to electricity through the installation of solar panels. The schools in the UK and Kenya will then benefit from maintaining a link and learning all about each other.
We're confident that Great Kingshill will rise to this challenge with the true enterprising spirit of SolarAid, and look forward to hearing more about the exciting fund-raising events they plan to hold later on this year!
You may remember our blog in January, The Maasai and the Solar Light. Well, Victor, our Macrosolar Coordinator, recently sent us some more photos of the trip, along with a few words:
For me, the Maasai Mara is a land that forever changes. The lush green, stretched out plains become golden waves of tall red oat grass, gently parted by herds of visiting wildebeest that clear the canvas for another wonderful painting.
Working with AKTF (Anne Kent Taylor Fund) has been a fantastic opportunity to distribute our SunnyMoney solar lights throughout the Maasai Mara. They are a community based organization that encourage and assist individuals, communities and corporations to conserve, protect and restore biodiversity through sound economic activities that are ecologically sustainable. We dubbed our solar campaign here, "tupa koroboi weka sola", meaning "throw kerosene lamp away and use solar light".
The campaign received positive reception from the Maasai communities. Consequently, the team sold over 200 units of assorted solar lights in the first two days of our arrival in the Mara. Two schools also received solar installations, which should improve education, learning facilities and school performance.
As well as lighting, schools are encouraged to use the solar systems as a means to begin income generating activities. This allows schools to finance the ongoing cost of the installation and eventually start new projects like school feeding programs (supported by the AKTF) to increase school attendance, improve academic performance and alleviate short-term hunger. This is helped further with the purchase of individual solar lights - the profit collected will be channelled in to the school feeding programs and help sustainability. Without this, parents do not have the necessary income to run the programme. Victor To help support our work to light rural Africa with affordable solar power, please make a donation.
As well as lighting, schools are encouraged to use the solar systems as a means to begin income generating activities. This allows schools to finance the ongoing cost of the installation and eventually start new projects like school feeding programs (supported by the AKTF) to increase school attendance, improve academic performance and alleviate short-term hunger. This is helped further with the purchase of individual solar lights - the profit collected will be channelled in to the school feeding programs and help sustainability. Without this, parents do not have the necessary income to run the programme.
To help support our work to light rural Africa with affordable solar power, please make a donation.
It's been another giant leap in the right direction for Sunny Schools with the successful launch of our programme in two Nairobi schools. Solar education has become a major part of the school curriculum in Kenya and Sunny Schools aims to enable teachers to meet that need...
To read on, please visit the Sunny Schools blog by clicking here
SolarAid is a lucky organisation. We seem to attract some crazy but wonderful fundraisers, who go to incredible lengths to support our work.
Just as cyclist Sean Conway embarks on a record-breaking attempt, Susie Wheeldon has launched her book 'The Solar Cycle Diaries' which documents her own round the world adventure with side-splitting humour and frankness.
In May 2009, Susie and two fellow cyclists left London for nine months to take on 14 countries and a jaw-dropping 13,500 miles. This epic adventure took them through some of the planet's most hostile environments. The team survived sub-zero blizzards, scorching deserts and killer bees. They climbed steep mountain passes and even managed to narrowly escape an overly-exuberant goat herder. With the goal of highlighting the potential of solar energy and raising awareness of SolarAid, they also raised an impressive £5,000 for our work whilst doing so - and collected some interesting tales along the way, too!
All proceeds from the sale of The Solar Cycle Diaries will be going to SolarAid, and just one week after the book was launched, it has already raised an astonishing £1,281 for our work - helping to bring clean solar lighting to rural communities in Africa.
To buy a copy of the book please click here.
The final word is really a HUGE thank you to Susie for giving up so much of her spare time to write this fantastic book, not to mention dedicating a big chunk of her life to the trip itself. The combination of sheer determination, boldness and a genuine passion in the our work can lead to some wonderful things. And this book is one of those things.
You may remember my blog entry documenting a site survey in Makueni, a region two and a half hours east of Nairobi. Well, I'm glad to say that we have now brought solar power to many of the people in that community.
Makueni County contends with perennial drought and famine due to erratic weather patterns, caused, in part, by years of large scale deforestation. Our team, who specialize in installing large solar systems, worked with teachers to fix solar panels on to the roofs of eight schools, directly benefiting 2,500 students. Meanwhile, our SunnyMoney team sold 80 affordable solar lights to teachers, parents and students, with many more placing orders.
But it wasn't easy. Just getting to this rural area is hard enough; we crossed a river and climbed a six kilometer hill - all on foot! It was simply impossible to reach some of these schools by car, even the 4x4. But, thankfully, when we did, the students and teachers considered solar a fantastic replacement to their kerosene lamps.
The field trip culminated with the commissioning of large solar panels to be installed on even more schools in the area. Once contracts were signed, my colleague, Hudson, was even honored as the Chief Guest and Honorary Chief! We then had the pleasure of presentations, poems and songs from students to mark the occasion.
Overall it was a very good and productive trip, which yielded positive results. Congratulations to the SolarAid team who were in Makueni County - Hudson (or Chief Hudson, if you like), Felix (Macrosolar Intern), Caroline (Microsolar Business Manager) and Victor (Macrosolar Coordinator).
If you would like to support our work and help us to bring solar to the lives of even more rural schools, then please make a donation.