Using an entrepreneurial distribution model, the Natural Light project will now donate a second installment of 20,000 solar lamps. These will be sold by new sales agents in off-grid communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and, for the first time, in Malawi.
The aim of this project, besides bringing a sustainable light source to off-grid communities, was to create a business model for local sales agents to make a living. This has been a great success. Today more than 50 sales agents in three African nations – Zimbabwe, Zambia and Sierra Leone – have their own businesses selling Natural Light solar lamps.
The Natural Light project, in collaboration with social business Little Sun, and NGO Plan International, was created to celebrate the VELUX Group’s 75th anniversary. Following an international design competition last year, which received 172 submissions from all over the world, the winning design was chosen and 14,500 units of the solar lamp were distributed in Africa – one for each employee of the VELUX Group and its sister companies.
Olafur Eliasson, artist and founder of Little Sun, says: “The Natural Light solar lamp is not only about providing energy to off-grid communities in Africa; it gives people the means to take charge of their own lives. By providing sustainable, reliable and affordable light, we’ve given people more independence and now they are able to work, study and cook safely in the dark.”
Alongside light, the Natural Light solar lamps will also help to improve air quality by reducing the widespread use of toxic, carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns, and instead, harness the sustainable energy of the sun.