SolarAid and SM100’s in the FT

Source Link for – Financial Times – Sunday 22nd May 2017…

UK designers produce world’s cheapest solar lamp
Hand-sized light that sells for $5 tempts homes across Africa away from kerosene

Children in Zambia, where the solar light is helping villagers without mains electricity © Patrick Bentley
A British start-up has helped a Chinese solar power giant provide cheap, clean power across Africa with a $5 light.

The SM100, which claims to be the cheapest solar light in the world, was designed by Manchester-based Inventid, formed by two graduates in 2012.

Some 600m people in African countries without electricity rely on kerosene storm lamps, which are expensive to run and produce smoke that is linked to respiratory diseases, cataracts and house fires.

The hand-sized SM100 can run for eight hours when fully charged and is twice as bright as kerosene. SolarAid, a charity, developed it in collaboration with Yingli, the solar panel manufacturer.

SolarAid’s trading subsidiary SunnyMoney has sold 1.9m other solar lights in Africa over the past decade but they retail for up to twice the price of the new light. After trialling 9,000 of the lights in three countries, the new light is now on sale.
Henry James and Bryn Morgan from strategic design consultancy Inventid
The co-founders of Inventid, Henry James and Bryn Morgan, met on a design degree at Leeds University and set up their company in 2012. Mr James first worked with SolarAid on a student project in 2007.

He said: “SolarAid calculated that selling the solar light at a level of $5 would bring the maximum benefit to the highest number of people, drastically reducing their monthly fuel bills and empowering them to lead better lives.”

The light is rectangular like a solar panel — rather than round — to reduce component costs. It has a stand so it can be used as a study light or hung in a room and straps so it can be used as a head torch.
A mechanic uses the rectangular light to fix a vehicle © Patrick Bentley
The light can be bought online for £10 in the UK, with extra profits going to SolarAid

The SM100 is an exemplar product for the new £83m Design Museum’s Design Ventura education programme. In March, the SM100 light won silver in the 2017 Design for Society and Design for Sustainability categories at the European Product Design Awards.

Building Blocks

I am not sure about you – but I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to a Mandela quote. Indeed, I even have one printed on my kitchen wall!

Nelson Mandela, was a great man and a leader who saw needs in our world and wasn’t afraid to play his part. Equipped with an abundance of compassion, determination and wisdom, his words are still speaking truth and accountability in our world today.

The thought-provoking and impactful words, “overcoming poverty is not an act of charity but an act of justice” from Mandela were the closing note to the Scotland Lights up Malawi celebration event held in February. Since that time of showcasing and thanksgiving, I have been reflecting on Phase 1 of the project. On its continuation and a number of other projects all addressing various shortcomings in our world, whether they be (gender) equality, injustice, health, schooling, energy or many other issues that affect people in varying degrees.

This reminds me not to downplay the fundamental building blocks in life that some people still very much lack. One such block is education. We all know about this, but, perhaps like me, you too sometimes lose sight of its significance and what it means for those without it. Lack of education can mean limitation and the consequences of that lack intertwine with so many things. We must not underestimate what education offers the future – when it is available.

Mandela said – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

A powerful weapon yes, one that has an incredible potential and value in bringing about significant change for good. Education gives access, ability and opportunity. It can steer us to better understanding, it can finely tune our moral compass, and it can help us develop skills and abilities to meet any challenge. It can give us the tools to distinguish the very difference between right and wrong.

I think most of us agree that education can enable people, whatever their circumstances, with a greater chance of overcoming adversity, injustice, and poverty. With enablement comes responsibility. When that responsibility is recognised, ignorance is diminished and that transformation can provide freedom, hope and a future.

In Phase 1 of Scotland Lights up Malawi, we saw Keep Scotland Beautiful share climate justice education in our own society by empowering Scottish young people to understand and act on some of the many aspects of climate justice. Glasgow Caledonian University enabled us to provide greater impact with their research. And Scottish businesses provided financial support to enable SolarAid to share its practical knowledge, products and resources. Which in turn have helped thousands of Malawians start to overcome poverty by educating them about safe, clean energy that is accessible and affordable.

Education on the significance of something as simple as changing kerosene to a solar light unlocks a great transformation, offers freedom and the very first step onto the energy ladder.

I continue to be in the midst of an educational journey myself as we continue work here in Scotland to support SolarAid’s awareness efforts – a responsibility I am honored to have.

Considering the potential of this weapon –  what does education look like to you? At home, in your workplace, in Scotland, or further afield? What can you do to educate or to be educated so as to act justly?

Education, a powerful force for good!

Malawi Food Crisis

Notification from our friends at EMMS International:

Malawi is in a state of emergency. It is estimated that more than 6.5 million people are going hungry, not knowing when they will next eat.

People are travelling for days to get to markets and queueing for food.
This is a very desperate situation for many.

The floods last year have decimated crops. This is now having a big impact on the amount of food available. It is always the poorest and most vulnerable to are hit first and hardest.

Just to be clear, there is absolutely no expectation that you give to this appeal, as you have already been so generous. But if you feel you know someone who would be in a position to help, here is the information on our response, which is being doubled by the Scottish government. Your prayers would be so appreciated:
How you can help

· Please pray for the people of Malawi, the poorest and most vulnerable.

· Please also pray for our partner hospitals, who are often dealing with the most desperate.

· Please support our partner hospitals by donating to our emergency appeal, which is being doubled by the Scottish government.

This appeal will help 3,350 vulnerable people get the food they need to see themselves through this crisis by:

· Providing monthly food to households
· Helping farmers to grow what they can
· Building grain stores to protect valuable crops for the difficult months to come
You will be supporting Mulanje Mission Hospital, Nkhoma Mission Hospital and LISAP to respond to the needs of their communities.