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Solar Empowerment for South African Youth - Our journey to South Africa

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Solar Empowerment for South African Youth

June, 2015

20150318103609-lighting_africaOne Million Lights is partnering with Sundance Solar for an educational and pay-as-you-go solar light project in South Africa. Ed Bender, president of Sundance Solar, and two science teachers will be travelling to the Cape Town area of South Africa in Mid-July to train teachers, work with students, and deliver solar lights. The partner on the ground is an organization called Aspire Youth. Aspire Youth will be running the programs for Sundance Solar.

According to Sundance Solar, the plan to educate and empower impoverished youth involves two small business models:solar jar

  1. The “Peace Lantern” Project – Youth in Aspire Youth will be educated and trained in the technology, manufacturing, and sales of a customized version of the Sunbender Do-it-Yourself Solar LED Jar Light Kit marketed as a South African “Peace Lantern.” Peace Lanterns will be targeted for sale as a novelty, corporate gift, or souvenir targeting the tourist industry.
  1. The “Pay As You Go (PAYG) Solar Lighting Project” – Youth in Aspire Youth will be educated and trained in our customized Pay-As-You-Go Photovoltaic module rental and purchase system which uses mobile phone technology and mobile banking infrastructure to electronically pre-pay for their photovoltaic use. A variety of payment and photovoltaic module options will eventually become accessible, depending on the needs of the household and community.

GLP_Eco_Website_NoBG-490x488For the PAYG project, Sundance and Aspire Youth will be working with Angaza ( ) and will use their PAYG-Ready platform which is ultimately designed to use mobile technology to ‘virtually’ pay for their photovoltaic usage while virtually controlling the photovoltaic system’s ownership and accessibility. The Angaza platform allows for the flexibility of starting with a cash based system, working up towards a mobile money payment option. Angaza utilizes the already established and most successful mobile phone based financial service in the developing world; M-PESA. The solar lights that they will be using for this part of the project are Green Light Planet’s Eco Easy Buy.

One Million Lights is proud to sponsor this endeavor because of the ultimate combination of teaching solar energy to students through hands-on programming and the goal of designing a sustainable model for selling solar lanterns to individuals who do not have access to clean energy. We are asking you to help support this amazing project in South Africa. Our initial goal is to provide $3000 to these projects. Your donation will help bring light to youth in a community that will benefit greatly in terms of safety, cost, educational progress and future financial endeavors.

Here is the video from Ed on this project.

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