COPENHAGEN, Denmark, December 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Following the success of the Natural Light solar lamp in Africa, the VELUX Group will deliver 20,000 more solar lamps to support sales agents in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and from now on also in Malawi.
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Using an entrepreneurial distribution model, the Natural Light project will now donate a second instalment of 20,000 solar lamps. These will be sold by new sales agents in off-grid communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and, for the first time, in Malawi.
The aim of this project, besides bringing a sustainable light source to off-grid communities, was to create a business model for local sales agents to make a living. This has been a great success. Today more than 50 sales agents in three African nations - Zimbabwe, Zambia and Sierra Leone - have their own businesses selling Natural Light solar lamps.
The Natural Light project, in collaboration with social business Little Sun, and NGO Plan International, was created to celebrate the VELUX Group's 75th anniversary. Following an international design competition last year, which received 172 submissions from all over the world, the winning design was chosen and 14,500 units of the solar lamp were distributed in Africa - one for each employee of the VELUX Group and its sister companies.
Olafur Eliasson, artist and founder of Little Sun, says: "The Natural Light solar lamp is not only about providing energy to off-grid communities in Africa; it gives people the means to take charge of their own lives. By providing sustainable, reliable and affordable light, we've given people more independence and now they are able to work, study and cook safely in the dark."
Alongside light, the Natural Light solar lamps will also help to improve air quality by reducing the widespread use of toxic, carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns, and instead, harness the sustainable energy of the sun.
Michael K. Rasmussen, Senior Vice President, Brand, the VELUX Group, says: "As a company built on knowledge of light and fresh air, the Natural Light project was a beautiful way to celebrate our 75th anniversary and bring better living environments outside our normal markets. Apart from light for reading or cooking after sunset and substitute the smelly kerosene lamp, the Natural Light project has helped foster young, ambitious entrepreneurs who now have their own businesses."
He continues: "We have extended the program to Malawi after the very positive uptake in the other countries - team members from Zambia had shared the story with the new project participants in Malawi, and we are excited to have them join the Natural Light family."
The additional Natural Light solar lamps are ready for distribution. A number of local sales agents in Malawi will be trained on how to sell the solar lamps in the coming months, through a series of workshops, roleplays, demonstrations, and group work.
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SOURCE VELUX Group