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SolarAid wins at the Charity Awards 2024

Press release

SolarAid wins at the Charity Awards 2024

SolarAid is delighted to announce that it has taken the top prize in the International Aid & Development category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.

SolarAid was recognised for its Light a Village programme in Malawi, piloting the free installation of plug-and-play solar home energy systems in Kasakula, one of the country’s poorest and remotest communities.

The charity have installed the systems in 4000 of Kasakula’s 7,500 households after finding that even the poorest families could generally afford to pay for the energy they used, provided they didn’t need to stump up for the cost of installation. The fees they pay (3 pence a day) covers the cost of maintenance such as replacing batteries – making the model sustainable and scalable.

The project was a success and is now being rolled out to the rest of the community this year achieving universal energy access in the area. Solar enterprises in Senegal, Sierra Leone and Madagascar have now expressed interest in replicating the scheme and SolarAid are actively engaging the Malawian Ministry of energy to explore how this could be the solution to electrifying more off-grid communities..

Alongside the nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, SolarAid was presented with the trophy at a black-tie ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 9 July, hosted by broadcaster, commentator and writer Baroness Ayesha Hazarika.

The Charity Awards shortlist is chosen by an independent panel of expert judges, themselves all eminent figures in the charity sector. The judges score each entry against six Hallmarks of Excellence before coming together for two days of challenge and discussion to select the winners.

Matt Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated SolarAid on winning the highly-coveted award.  He said:

“For 24 years, the Charity Awards has been shining a spotlight on the vital and inspiring work that UK charities carry out right across our own country, and beyond. In 2024, the sector is contending with soaring costs, rising demand and shrinking donations, yet the resilience, ambition and innovation in these applications continues to impress and inspire us. In a year of record entries, SolarAid should be hugely proud of this prize.”

Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive at Overall Awards Partner CCLA, said:

“Charities are experiencing extraordinary challenges, making it vitally important that we continue to promote their endeavours and celebrate excellence in the sector. This is why CCLA is proud to be the Charity Awards’ Overall Partner again this year – so we can play our part in highlighting the heroic work of charities large and small, right across the UK.

“I pay tribute to all 10 winners who deserve full credit for their outstanding work.”

John Keane, chief executive at SolarAid, said:

“We are deeply honoured to receive this award. This recognition underscores the significant impact of our ground-breaking ‘Light a Village’ initiative, which brings solar energy to the poorest and remotest communities, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve universal access to energy for all. It is a testament to the dedication of our team and the support of our partners and donors. Together, we are lighting up the path to a brighter, more sustainable future.”

Kennedy Buleya’s house in Kasakula brightly lit under the stars. Photo: Kondwani Jere/SolarAid.


Notes to editors:

Press kit

SolarAid: Established in 2006, SolarAid is a UK based, international charity dedicated to bringing solar power to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Together with their social enterprise, SunnyMoney, they are pioneering innovative enterprise programmes that tackles poverty and climate change by providing access to clean, safe solar light to homes, clinics and schools. To date, SolarAid have distributed 2.3 million lights across sub-Saharan Africa.

Contact: Sofia Ollvid, 079 386 038 24, [email protected]


The Charity Awards 2024, now running for the 24th year, is organised by Civil Society Media, publishers of Charity Finance, Fundraising and Governance & Leadership magazines and

The Charity Awards is sponsored by CCLA. Founded in 1958, CCLA’s purpose is to help the not-for-profit sector maximise its impact on society by harnessing the power of investment markets. They have a long track record of instigating change for a better world with their pioneering work on climate, modern slavery and mental health.