Rural Energy Foundation (now called SolarNow), Africa
Villages lit up by solar
More than 70% of sub-Saharan Africa has no access to electricity. In rural areas this often exceeds 95%. The Rural Energy Foundation (REF) has met this need by turning local communities on to solar. Recognising that the products are nothing without the local entrepreneurs to promote and install them, REF has trained local networks of budding entrepreneurs. As a result, in only three years 300,000 people in nine countries have gained access to solar energy. And better quality light gives opportunities for study, income-generation and leisure activities as well as vital access to radio and mobile phones.