About Us

OUR VISION

Universal access to clean energy

OUR MISSION

To design and deliver affordable clean energy solutions and inspire people to take climate action

Frederik,

Founder

Olafur,

Founder

Little Sun started as a simple idea to create a small, portable, solar lamp for people living without electricity in Ethiopia. We began as a social enterprise, selling solar devices around the world with the aim of raising funds to make solar lights and chargers available in energy-impoverished rural communities in Africa at affordable prices, where they could also provide a clean alternative to toxic and expensive fuel-based lighting.   

The organisation was founded in 2012 by the contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson, and Frederik Ottesen, an engineer – an artist and a problem solver who look at the world from different perspectives.  This spirit of searching for new and unconventional paradigms, of challenging old belief systems to find new solutions to intractable problems, is baked into our DNA.  We believe that every person has the power to change the world with their passion, creativity, and ingenuity, and that everyone has a role to play in changing the world for the better.   

Our programs in Africa are just the beginning of what we can accomplish with your help.  Together we can: 

  • Create thriving communities powered by solar energy;
  • Reduce climate injustices;
  • Transition to a world powered entirely by renewable energy.

What we do

The impact of access to even the smallest amount of electric light has proven transformative. Since 2012, Little Sun has grown into a global project that has changed millions of lives through the distribution of over 1.2 million personal solar devices to students, refugees, teachers and community health workers. This has enabled 58 million additional study hours for children, and saved households $150 million in expenses and helped reduce CO2 emissions by 800,000 metric tons. By working with local entrepreneurs, Little Sun has also helped create thousands of local jobs, and generated local profits for rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly for women.

But as we listened to our partners, sales agents, and friends in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda and Zambia where we operate, Little Sun quickly realized that energy is more than the provision of light. Energy is critical to almost everything a community needs to improve their quality of life, standard of living, and health. Access to energy makes it possible for people to build a thriving economy. Energy makes it possible to increase agricultural production by mechanizing equipment, and to build adequate health services with refrigeration for medicines, and modern equipment for lab tests. Access to energy allows students to study at night and improve their chances of graduating and getting higher paying jobs.

If communities who currently live in almost total darkness are going to increase their per capita income, modernize their infrastructures, and mechanize manual labor to increase productivity and profits, they need access to affordable energy. And since the world is on the verge of a climate disaster, it makes sense that this energy is clean.

Little Sun has expanded operations to meet the unmet needs of communities in rural Africa where we work. We are now improving farmer efficiency with solar-powered farm equipment, installing cold storage units to reduce food wastage and increase farmer’s incomes, designing solar irrigation systems that allow farmers to produce more crops, and fabricating solar-powered egg incubators to dramatically increase hatching rates for baby chicks.

In response to the COVID crisis, Little Sun is equipping thousands of front-line healthcare workers with solar phone chargers so they can better meet the needs of rural patients. We are also bringing solar systems to rural health facilities in Senegal and Ethiopia to help power diagnostic equipment and vaccine storage and support maternal health.

All of these new programs have the power to transform almost every aspect of the lives of people living in the rural communities in which they are being implemented. But Little Sun is more than just the productive use of electricity. Little Sun stands for a thriving world powered by the sun.

We are committed to telling the story of solar. We are committed to using the power of our voice to move the world towards clean energy. We do this by partnering with artists and creative leaders to inspire global action to overcome climate change and create a world powered by renewables. Our goal is to reach millions of people to join together in bringing light to the world.

We still run our social enterprise business to fund some of the work we do in Africa, but we also formed a non-profit entity to help raise additional funds to bring our vision of a solar powered world to fruition.

Where we work

We work primarily in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda and Zambia, drawing on the expertise of in-country staff. Through close partnerships with local organizations, we also work in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. We have offices in New York, Berlin, Addis Ababa and Lusaka. Little Sun is registered as a non-profit in the United States as well as in Germany.

Global Team

Little Sun team member Alex McClure

Alex McClure

team member titleSenior Manager

Carol Mulenga

team member titleZambia Customer Service Officer

Charlotte Chen

team member titleAssistant Logistics and Distribution

Chipo Mbewe

team member titleCustomer Service Officer

Little Sun team member Christian van Wickeren

Christian van Wickeren

team member titleSales Director

Clay Tarica

team member titleDirector of Art & Philanthropy

Fatoumata Ndiaye

team member titleSenegal Business Developer

Felix Hallwachs

team member titleFoundation Director

Florian Bergforth

team member titleLogistics & Quality Manager

Huda Zuber

team member titleEthiopia Program Manager

Iven Krüger

team member titleHead of Logistics and Production

Jana Stolz

team member titleDigital Manager

Janet Vorman

team member titleHead of Supply Chain Management

Joan LeFur

Joan Le Fur

team member titleSenegal Project Partner

Lena Franke

Lena Franke

team member titleFinance & Office Manager

Marième Ndiaye

team member titleRegional Representative in Thiès, Senegal

Little Sun team member Mason Huffine

Mason Huffine

team member titleDirector of Africa Business & Sales

Mbadj Samba Cissokho

team member titleRegional Representative in Tambacounda, Senegal

Mokia Laisin

team member titleProject Development Manager

Muyunda Munyinda

team member titleZambia Chief Executive Officer

Nabil Ishak

team member titleDirector of Little Sun Africa

Ndèye Astou Sané

team member titleAdministrative and commercial assistant Senegal

Nina Konownitzine

team member titleInternational Partnerships & Development Manager

Romane Guégan

Romane Guégan

team member titleSenior Press & Communications Manager

Samuel Dansette

team member titleSenior Program Manager

Susanne Ewenstein

team member titleManager Impact Programs

Little Sun team member Tsveta Stoeva

Tsveta Stoeva

team member titleSenior Campaign Manager

Our Board