Project Description: Ayax Solar Impact
Lars Føleide was born 1979, now 17 years into higher education with a strong desire to bring this unique Norwegian phenomena of climbing the academic ladder to the developing world. Lars returned to Norway after having been 4 years in the US, studying their wonderful non-profit sector. While teaching "Impact Assessment" (www.DeCal.info/Impact) he was introduced to a project pending launch at www.OneMillionLights.org, which is optimized to maximize impact. This pilot project (www.Ayax.org) in east africa will in partnership with www.BrighterLite.net and www.ReNorway.com focus on support and education of children and young people, include musical art and cultural activities on a regular basis, and also feature health projects with medical research on use of smart phones for in-the-field diagnostics (www.Sprun.org).
One Million Lights have successfully attracted funding from corporate sponsors, having successfully distributed a great number of solar powered lights around the world, but they have in recent times also become involved in what is called micro-grids - which is a larger scale electricity solution that can provide power to for instance 20 households. So far, the development model adopted largely follows traditional thinking in terms of paying per use, effectively allowing household to allocate money typically spent on paraffin to be spent on electricity instead. Access to electricity then opens up for other luxury items like cellphone, internet and TV. These items drive and sustain demand, ensuring the investment to be safe and sound in the typical 7 years it takes to repay the investment cost. The ability for non-profits to recover their investment also ensures that they can have a greater impact aligned with their mission. But experiences like wealthy merchants reaching a tenfold consumption compared to the average household, developing an addiction so strong that families discuss whether they should pay more for TV or buy new school uniforms for their kids, have triggered a desire for this particular non-profit to develop a more holistic model for deploying and providing access to electricity which aligns better with the mission of the non-profit. This effort aligns with Sustainable Development Goal #7: Affordable and Clean Energy. To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The basic idea is simple, that electricity from the micro-grid is instead used to power the local school, kindergarten, health clinic and city hall - empowering women, which they've found maximize reinvestment of positive externalities in long-term improvement of living standard. A concept were children, youth, health workers and women are empowered to enhance education, culture and health-care.