Solar Aid just sold its millionth solar light in Africa, delivering new opportunities to families all over a continent not known for being on the cutting edge of energy (and, ironically, a continent mostly exploited for its non-renewable resources).
A million lights! What's that mean? Apparently it means safe, clean light for six million people.
With a not-impossible mindset that we can appreciate, Solar Aid's SunnyMoney charity has an eye for sustainable business rather than just delivering good-old fashioned "Aid" (despite its name). Kerosene distributors in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania sell solar lights instead of fuel, delivering illumination that helps their customers save money, and carries much less risk.
The company reports that "an estimated $235,000 is being saved collectively by families every day – and children are gaining three million extra hours of study time every night." With plans to extend programs to two additional countries, these figures are set to soar.
While there are obvious benefits (education after-hours, security and commerce), apparently the lights have also been used for less obvious purposes, such as gifts between previously warring tribes who offer up the lights as a symbolic representation of peace and reconciliation!
Now, that's the way to kindle a relationship - scrap that - we mean, it's enlightening, right? (we couldn't help ourselves, we lasted this whole time without some sort of lighting pun, come on!).