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FinancialForce4Good supports SolarAid’s mission to tackle one of the worlds toughest problems




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, 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, 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, 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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Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains



Pandemic 'shecession' reverses women's workplace gains 1

By Anuradha Nagaraj

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.

Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.

Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.

Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.

“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.

“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”

The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.

Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.

Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office



German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit - Stats Office 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.

“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.

In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.

Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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German unemployment unexpectedly rises in February



German unemployment unexpectedly rises in February 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – German unemployment rose in February for the first time since last June, data showed on Tuesday, dashing expectations for a fall as lockdown measures to suppress the coronavirus case load held back Europe’s largest economy.

The Labour Office said the number of people out of work rose by 9,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.752 million. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 13,000.

“Kurzarbeit (shortened working hours) continues to secure employment on a large scale and prevent unemployment,” Labour Office chief Detlef Scheele said in a statement, adding: “Individual sectors are feeling the effects of the lockdown.”

Germany has been in lockdown since November, and measures were tightened in mid-December, as it battles a second wave of the virus. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said new variants of COVID-19 risk a third wave of infections.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged compared with the previous month at 6.0%.

The labour agency said some 2.39 million employees were on shortened working hours in December under the government’s Kurzarbeit scheme designed to avoid mass layoffs during downturns by offering companies subsidies to keep workers on the payroll.

After peaking at some 6 million last April, the number of people on Kurzarbeit fell before rising again in November as lockdown measures kicked in, the Office said.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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