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SolarAid scoops Ashden Award

Steve Andrews, SolarAid's ceo, makes his acceptance speech
Steve Andrews, SolarAid’s ceo, makes his acceptance speech

SolarAid has been selected as a Gold Award winner in the 2013 International Ashden Awards for its work building sustainable markets for small solar lights across East Africa.

SolarAid’s creative distribution of solar technology across remote African regions caught the judges’ attention in the same month the organisation reached sales of over half a million lights.

The charity, set up by social enterprise SunnyMoney, aims to create sustainable markets for solar lights and inspire trust in the technology. It says that replacing toxic kerosene with solar lights improves economic prosperity, education, enterprise, opportunity and health, providing a platform for communities to develop and prosper.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden founder director, said: “SolarAid has taken a huge step forward in eradicating the kerosene lamp from Africa by deliberately targeting the hardest places to reach with solar lighting – the very places where people are most in need. By working with schools to get study lanterns to families it is helping give a whole generation of African schoolchildren the chance of a better future.”

Pippa Palmer, SolarAid md, said: “We are delighted that Ashden have recognised the efforts of our SunnyMoney teams across Africa who have been working tirelessly to build a pan-continental market for solar lanterns to displace toxic kerosene lamps. We believe the 598million off-grid African people have a right to choose clean, safe light for their families and are calling on everyone to help us give them that choice.”

Steve Andrews, SolarAid ceo, in his acceptance speech, added: “I’d like to dedicate this award to our staff, our indigenous African staff, some of whom spend months away from their wives, children and husbands, out in the field miles and miles away from home selling lights for us every day. They do a truly extraordinary job. So this is for them – thank you.”