At SolarAid, we believe in ‘trade-not-aid’. We believe the best way to make long-lasting change is through creating a local market. We do this by training and supporting entrepreneurs, known as Agents, to sell solar lights. Not only does it create sustainable income and business opportunities for the Agent, it creates customers rather than beneficiaries. Although the Agent structure differs between countries, what they have in common are SunnyMoney teams working tirelessly to support them with their business as well as educating and training new Agents.
The Agent model creates possibilities for us to reach those at the very last mile. To help with this, innovative solutions are constantly being developed and tested. In Malawi, we have just set up a microfinance cooperative for Agents, run by Agents so they have access to finance at half the national interest rate.
This ‘trade-not-aid’ model has been instrumental in developing sustainable income for SunnyMoney Agents whilst simultaneously developing markets for solar products in Africa.