This time last year we made a decision that would strengthen our entire approach. We decided to put research, measurement and impact at the forefront of our thinking – so we could learn from our findings and become a better, more efficient and effective organisation.
One year on and we’re excited to share with you all the amazing work we’ve been doing: our first ever Impact Report with loads of information on the difference your support has made.
We learned that by listening to our customers, taking on board their feedback and revising our approach accordingly we are able to maximise our impact. Our customer focussed approach determines which lights we sell and how best to inform the local population of the benefits of solar technology.
We were one of three finalists for a Best Practice Award in Research which we’re incredibly proud of. The Poverty reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) has been recognising Best Practice in Research since 2009; find out more here.
The benefits of switching to solar
Money saved from solar is commonly spent on better food, education and farming inputs. On average solar lights save rural African families around $70 per year.
"[The solar light] is cheap. It just uses the sun. It’s been a year and I’ve saved. Life has become cheaper." Nixon Ketere in Kenya
On average children study for an extra hour each night after switching to solar and the improved light source is shown to increase motivation, attendance and performance at school.
“The number of students who go to secondary school has gone up and our school has got higher student attendance.” Patrick Nyerenda, teacher in Malawi
Black carbon (soot) emitted by kerosene lamps contributes more to climate change than all the CO₂ released in the UK during a whole year.
“replacing kerosene lamps is a low-hanging fruit. We don’t have many examples of that in the climate world.” Kirk R Smith, climate change expert
Inhaling the fumes from a kerosene lamp is the toxic equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
“My children had bronchitis and when we switched from kerosene to solar lighting she no longer had the frequent attacks she had before.” Mabvuto Zulu in Zambia
A solar light brings people together and can help make people feel safe and secure in an otherwise dark rural environment
“A lot of things have changed [thanks to the solar light]; the house is brighter and the children are happy.” Weakness Mwenelupembe
While we’ve achieved a lot in our first year of monitoring and evaluating, we also know there is lots more we need to do. And you know what? We’re actually really excited about that! We’re going to be collecting more data, doing more focused studies and working with research institutions and partners to strengthen what we’re learning, how we’re reacting to it and how we’re communicating it.
Don’t forget to come back and visit this page soon too because we’re going to be making this even better.