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Lighting Malawi: Malawi Solar Lights Project

Published Date: 25 February 2015

Only 7% of people in Malawi have access to electricity. Without access to electricity, households in these communities spend 20-25% of their monthly income to purchase candles or kerosene to have some form of light after dark. Without access to local electricity, recharging a cell phone becomes an expensive and time consuming chore- with many people walking or riding a bicycle for hours to the closest charging location. Through the use of solar energy, the Malawi Solar Lights Project is changing communities. 

The aim of the Malawi Solar Lights Project is to provide affordable, reliable and locally repairable solar lighting and cell phone charging products to Malawi families principally living in rural communities without access to electricity. Instead of using expensive candles that need to be replaced daily, the project has two products that represent a sustainable and safe way to light homes across Malawi. There are two products, one is a solar lantern with five light settings and a cell phone charger with multi-adapter plug (which costs $30USD) and the second product is a solar home lighting kit that lights up three rooms and also has cell phone charging and adapter (which costs $50USD).

The Project is designed and intended to be a self-sustaining  program that is operated and administered by a trained organisations at the community level. Ultimately, the Project will resemble a cooperative with the rural community organizations combining new orders for additional solar products through a central administration/purchasing office at a national level.

The Malawi Solar Lights Project was established to help provide the following benefits of solar lights to families living in rural communities without access to electric power:

•        Improved education for children; quality study and homework light

•        More productive adult work hours for reading, crafts, and vocational trades

•        Reduced eye strain and eye irritation from low light levels and carbon-based fuel

•        Improved health and indoor air quality: no fumes or soot

•        Bright, clean, abundant light levels

•        Rechargeable, replaceable long life battery; low maintenance/upkeep cost

•       Available cell phone charging capability

•        20% more income from cost savings vs need to purchase candles or kerosene

If you're interested in finding out more about the programme please contact Richard Keller or see the website.