#SpotlightOn Burkina Faso – Spreading solar in “the land of honest people”

Burkina Faso, literally “the country of honest people” is a beautiful West African country, rich in folkloric traditions, ethnic diversity, a lively cultural scene and captivating beauty of landscapes.

Boureima Tanga Kabre and Issaka Dahani are Little Sun’s partners in Burkina Faso since 2014 and have helped distribute over 16,000 solar lamps and train more than 150 solar sales agents. Last month they visited us in Berlin, and we’ve been talking solar and strategy with them to spread even more solar together. The need is still immense, as only 3% of the population in rural areas has access to electricity. As everywhere in the world where people lack access to electricity, this affects social life, education, work and so much more.

Young population strives for education

More than 50% of Burkinabé is under 18 years old. For a society this young, access to education is essential for further development and wellbeing of the country. Lacking electricity is  a huge obstacle for children on their path to good academic results and often leads to children not continuing their education at some point.

‘Having access to energy and making study time longer has an impact on people. It benefits the whole country because children can study more. Thanks to the solar lamps, school children were able to have very good grades, which allowed them to get scholarships and go to even better schools.’- Issaka Dahani

Ulda, a young Burkinabé who is determined to help her younger fellows to get the same opportunity she had – to successfully complete school. When she was still living and studying in a partially non-electrified area of Yamtenga, her father got her a Little Sun solar lamp. Not long after, she improved her grades by being able to dedicate more time for studying when it’s dark. Her efforts paid off and she received a scholarship to study at the International School of Ouagadougou. There, she was asked to come up with a topic for a fundraising project. Without hesitation, she decided to use the funds to help children by providing them clean light to do their homework, giving them the power to take care of their own education. In total, 461 solar lamps were distributed to students since early 2017. Thank you, Ulda, for such an amazing work and being such an inspiring person!

Climate change in Burkina Faso – Why action is urgently needed

Just like most communities around the globe, Burkinabé witness effects of global warming throughout the years. Burkina Faso has a dry tropical climate, and today the difficult weather conditions are worsened by climate change, affecting the region with severe changes in rainfall, water shortage, low crop yield, and an increased risk for fires. This has a big impact on the livelihood of the Burkinabé, since 80% of the population live as farmers.

‘We face the consequences in production, agriculture and farming. Basically, we feel the issue of climate change in every sector.’ – Boureima Tanga Kabre.

How solar is contributing to better living conditions in rural areas

150 Little Sun sales agents have been trained in Burkina Faso since 2014. Participants of a training session learn about solar energy and sales techniques, which enables them to spread the word about sustainable energy, improve the livelihoods in rural areas, and make an extra income for themselves.

A successful example of this is BETA Sarl’s collaboration with two highly motivated women’s groups since 2015, initiated by Plan International. The women started distributing Little Sun solar lamps two years ago and have by now sold over 2,500 lamps. More to come!

‘Since I am a distributor of Little Sun solar products, my life is more fulfilled, I meet very different people and I’m happy to have such a positive impact on my clients’ – Liliane Tagnan, a sales agent in Bobo-Dioulasso region.

Burkina Faso has an incredible solar potential: With approximately 3000-3500 hours of sunshine per year, the sun seems like the perfect source for sustainable and affordable energy in the country. That is why together with Boureima, Issaka and the 160 sales agents, we are working towards an even brighter future.

You’d like to support the entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso? Every lamp you buy in our webshop directly benefits bringing solar energy toour project partners in Sub-Saharan Africa.