Solar Aid


Sunny Money is a micro-franchise set up by SolarAid that recruits, trains and supports a growing network of entrepreneurs in East Africa. It helps them build and sell solar kits to power lights, radios and mobile phones and provides access to finance to help them scale up the operation. Microfranchising applies proven marketing and operational concepts of traditional businesses to the developing world with significant positive economic impacts.

history Campaign has now closed

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1115960)




  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



For every £15 it costs to train a microfranchisee, £176 (58% of his yearly income) will be generated. That's more than an EVEVENFOLD increase in the value of your money and can make the difference between starvation and comfort for a family during the hungry season Why this project: Lack of access to electricity and low-income levels are the causes of most socioeconomic problems in Malawi. Only 2% of households in rural areas have access to electricity, which is a key factor to the high illiteracy rates (36%). In rural areas 88% of households are using kerosene for their lighting, which is highly toxic and causes respiratory diseases, burns and eyesight problems. Kerosene is also highly polluting, emitting large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. Benefits to the communities: Environmental effects: Improved access to and household use of solar in place of non-renewable energy sources. The average household in rural Malawi uses 2.25 litres of kerosene per month for its kerosene lamp, producing approximately ¾ of a tonne of CO2 over 10 years. By replacing those with solar lanterns, 2.3 million litres of kerosene will be saved over the lifetime of the product in over 20,000 households and 5943 tonnes of carbon will be offset over the 7 year expected lifespan of product. The project has achieved the carbon offsetting Gold Standard and will generate over 5,000 carbon credits. Economic development: Approximately €2.1 million (391.5 million kwacha) saving on kerosene for low income Malawian households over the lifetime of the product, which can be reinvested into food, medicines and education. Furthermore bringing affordable, uninterrupted and accessible charging of consumer electronics for communities that are off the grid will lead to improved communication on crop prices and access to news. The access to bank savings we facilitate will allow franchisees to accumulate personal savings and reinvest sales revenues into the business. They will be able to work with a microfinance institution to ensure long-term sustainability and replicability once SolarAid has reduced its involvement and started to exit. Increase in Standard of Living: The Microfranchise Programme will provide greater economic freedom for micro-franchisees and end users, increasing entrepreneurs’ income by 58%. In addition, the average rural Malawian household spends 10-20% of its income on kerosene for lighting, batteries for radios and phone charging. The solar products will allow them to redirect this income into health, nutrition and education. Time spent walking to areas with phone charging facilities, which is usually over 4 hours and amounting to over 800 hours per household over product lifetime, can be redirected to income generating activities. Educational effects: The project will impact 20 communities and educate 10000 people about solar energy. The lamps will also enable a 50% increase in study time and allow for adult education. Improved Health: 75% reduced incidence of kerosene related illness such as lung disease, eyesight problems, burns and fires. Kerosene is also the main cause of childhood poisoning in Africa. The funding The total budget for this project is £45,000 to train 80 franchisees and produce 1,000 microsolar products, of which we have secured £30,000 from TRAID. We are approaching various trusts and companies for further funding to make up the balance. A breakdown of the total project costs (£): Solar Products/ Materials: 231,769.45 Franchisee sales and Marketing Support: 22,443.49 Training of franchisees: 44,886.98 Logistics & Carbon Verification: 44,886.98 Local Project Management: 48,029.07 Travel: 17,954.79 Overheads (10%): 40,997.08 Total: 450,967.84