Projects

SolarAid

Location: Syria

Solar Aid is an international charity  founded by Jeremy Leggett in 2006 with over 10 years’ experience of working to deliver solar lighting to the developing world. They provide access to solar lights in Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia to help catalyse solar markets and eradicate the kerosene lamp.

Most schools in Syria are now built underground for fears of shelling and bombardment. As a result, children are unable to study in the hours of darkness and, where used, kerosene-powered lamps cause air pollution which presents a serious health hazard. NextEnergy Foundation made a donation to fund 1,140 SM100 solar lights for school children in Syria. These lights were shipped directly to Syria Relief, a charity established in 2011 in response to the beginning of the Syrian crisis, and they covered the costs of shipping the lights to Syria and distributing them. Syria Relief has provided NextEnergy Foundation with photos of how the solar lights benefited families and communities in Syria.

Location: Uganda

Solar Aid is an international charity founded by Jeremy Leggett in 2006 with over 10 years’ experience of working to deliver solar lighting to the developing world. They provide access to solar lights in Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia to help catalyse solar markets and eradicate the kerosene lamp.

In 2018, NextEnergy Foundation funded the provision of SM100 solar lights to Bidi Bidi, the largest refugee camp in Northern Uganda. The camp was opened in 2017 and is currently home to approximately 270,000 Sudanese refugees. Sudan’s civil war has been ongoing since 2013 and, according to Global Conflict Tracker (2020), almost 2.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers are estimated to have fled the country. The introduction of solar lights in Bidi Bidi has helped families to survive, and children to continue studying, in the camp which they now call their home.

Location: Malawi

NextEnergy Foundation is supporting a new project with SolarAid to recruit, train and support women entrepreneurs to run solar light businesses across rural Malawi.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, energy poverty disproportionately affects women and girls, and women entrepreneurs face far more barriers to running sustainable businesses in rural communities than men. However, it has been shown that women are key change-makers in providing energy access to rural communities.

Accordingly, SolarAid launched its Mayi Walas programme last year; Mayi Walas means ‘Shining Mothers’ in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language. Mayi Walas combines access to training, financing solutions and long-term business support to enable women entrepreneurs to break through the barriers they face in launching, growing and scaling successful businesses.

The programme will support a total of 150 groups (1,500 female entrepreneurs). With NextEnergy Foundation’s support, 15 groups (150 entrepreneurs) will be recruited and trained with the following wider impacts:

  • 9,000 people in rural Malawi reached with solar light;
  • 900 tonnes CO₂ emissions averted;
  • 4,700 people experiencing improved health; and,
  • 6 million additional study hours created.

More information about the programme’s dynamics can be found on the SolarAid website, including stories from some of the Mayi Walas entrepreneurs. A first update on the 15 groups supported by the Foundation will be shared shortly.