FinancialForce4Good is throwing support behind UK charity SolarAid’s goal to tackle ‘one the world’s toughest problems’. SolarAid is determined to eradicate the toxic kerosene lamp, which is often used for lighting, and replace them with small solar lights. It is estimated that there are 598 million African people living without access to electricity and many rely on using kerosene lamps.
SolarAid was selected to receive a £500,000 Global Impact Award from Google’s Global Impact Challenge and the award will help get 144,000 solar lights to rural Tanzanian families and at the same time, create jobs for over 400 solar entrepreneurs.
SolarAid helps families in Africa’s remotest off-grid regions afford food, education and a brighter future by distributing small solar lamps that end dependency on costly, toxic kerosene. It tackles the issues of poverty, health, education, unemployment and global warming by creating sustainable markets for solar lights throughout rural Africa. SunnyMoney, set up by Solar Aid, is a not-for-profit trading arm that uses an innovative business model to distribute lights at scale on the ground through schools. Rather than giving aid, SunnyMoney sells lights in order to build viable sustainable markets in areas where little retail or transport infrastructure exists. All lights sold by SunnyMoney are Lighting Africa approved and combine photovoltaic, battery and LED technology. These solar lights have a life-span of at least 5 years and cost as little as £5. In the last month, Sunny Money celebrated the sale of their 500,000th solar light in Africa.
Steve Andrews, SolarAid CEO, said, “Giving people access to simple solar technology impacts poverty and changes lives forever. The Global Impact Award will not only help us get 144,000 solar lights into Tanzania but create a sustainable model for solar distribution, market and job creation we can replicate across the continent. The impact of the technology and the effect of the award will be astounding.”
FinancialForce4Good is an initiative pioneered by the cloud application company FinancialForce.com, whose accounting software has been selected to support the SunnyMoney organization in Africa. In July, the SolarAid team plans to demonstrate the live FinancialForce accounting system in Nairobi, to the Operations Directors of the four countries they currently work in: Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. The benefits for the organization include being able to share live financial data from all locations and because the system is set up, there is no further work needed for each new country to go live. The plan is to roll out the application to one country per month to support SolarAid in their mission to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020.
“FinancialForce Accounting will allow SunnyMoney to strengthen its financial systems with a robust, easy-to-use and agile accounting package,” commented Gerrard Graf, SolarAid Financial Manager.
“SolarAid is highlighting the life-changing impact of the simple solar light and building even more awareness of the millions who are still living without electricity,” Jeremy Roche, president, FinancialForce.com said. “We are delighted to support the work of one of our customers through FinancialForce4Good. For us, it’s all about giving back and helping the people who need it most.”
FinancialForce4Good is a critical part of the company’s identity and volunteers have donated more than 2000 hours since its 2010 inception. For non-profit organizations such as SolarAid, FinancialForce.com offers solutions at a substantial discount to assist them with their operational and financial management requirements.
About kerosene lamps and black carbon
A recent 4–year research by 31 Atmospheric Scientists has highlighted the previously unrecognized impact of black carbon on global warming (Bond et al 2013).
Another study calculates that unburnt black particulate (soot) from kerosene lamps contributes exponentially to global warming. Black carbon from kerosene lamps hangs in the air where it reflects the sun and causes atmospheric temperature increases that directly contribute to global warming. Kerosene lamps account for as much as 3% of global black carbon emissions (Lam et al 2012).
The scale of the problem is much greater than previously realised:
During its short atmospheric lifetime (a matter of days), “[…] one kg of black carbon produces as much ‘positive forcing’ (the measure for atmospheric warming) as 700 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) does during 100 years (Lam et al, 2012:4; Bond et al 2011).
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