Church leaders in the Luapula Province of Zambia observed the cycle of poverty their congregation was trapped in, as a result of their reliance on paraffin. This observation prompted church leaders like Davies Jeremiah (DJ) Ngandwe to become agents of change.
Paraffin is expensive, and it is dangerous our people are poor as majority of them are subsistence farmers and when their house burns down or a child is made sick because of the fumes, they suffer more.
Davies Jeremiah – N’Jelika Mission Centre, Zambia
In addition to liberating the community from dependence on paraffin, the church leaders wanted to establish a business that would enable them to raise the money required to construct a multi-purpose building at the Mission Centre.
The solution was SunnyMoney solar lights. SunnyMoney trained the church leaders on the harmful effects of paraffin as a source of lighting, the benefits of solar energy and the features of the different SunnyMoney solar lights. In addition, for every five solar lights they bought, the Centre received a free solar light. Initially the leaders only ordered the entry level S2 solar light but as awareness and demand in the area grew so did the variations of solar lights. The mobile phone charging Sun King Mobile proved popular and not only were DJ and his team selling more solar lights, they were increasing their profit margins.
In order to better serve the region, SunnyMoney stopped using local bus companies for solar light delivers and switched, to the Zambia Postal Service. This move allowed a measure of flexibility for the residents around the N’Jelika Mission Centre as the Post Office only provides short term warehousing and security. Previously, the busses had to be met when they rolled into town, a huge inconvenience for the church leaders as the N’Jelika Mission Centre is 35 Kilometres from the bus station and all the leaders use bicycles for transportation.
The affordable, portable and durable solar lights met two primary needs of the people of Zambia’s Luapula Province as they provided safe, clean, light and some models even charged mobile phones, and small radios. Demand was high and the Centre was able to make a sizeable profit, buying solar lights at a wholesale price from SunnyMoney in Lusaka and selling them at a retail price. The additional income of over $10,000 from the sale of solar lights has enabled the church leaders to finally begin construction of a multi-purpose building at the N’Jelika Mission Centre.