Little Sun in Conversation: Olafur and Nabil

Last month, our long term Ethiopian partner, Nabil Ishak, visited our Berlin office for the first time! Nabil is the managing director of Solar Development PLC. Based in Addis Ababa, the company’s mission is to bring clean energy to at least 80% of people living off the grid in Ethiopia. 

Solar Development has been distributing Little Suns and empowering local communities with our lights and chargers since 2016. Throughout these years, Little Sun founder, Olafur Eliasson, has maintained an active relationship with Nabil and Solar Development. We saw Nabil’s visit to Berlin as the perfect opportunity for him and Olafur to have a conversation about climate change, design, entrepreneurship and the impact of Little Sun on Ethiopian and global communities. We are excited to share with you four unique snippets of their discussion.

Video 1: On Living without electricity, global design and emotionalizing sustainable solutions:

In areas of the world where energy access remains consistent, it is often taken for granted, but reliable electricity, or lack thereof, is social and psychological. Both the function and the design of the Little Sun lamp hold emotional power. The meskel flower, an abundant image throughout the Ethiopian landscape is the inspiration for the Little Sun Original lamp. This familiarity in form displays the power of globally responsive design by simultaneously evoking empathy and improving quality of life. This is important because at the core we all desire the same, security, education and freedom.

Video 2: On health hazards, emergency lighting and the importance of holding hands with the sun

How is Little Sun being used in Ethiopia and Europe and why is a solar lamp actually improving health? Hear about the risks and dangers of kerosene lights and the impact of owning your own power station, no matter where you live in the world.

Video 3: On Super Sales Women, Climate Justice and a Positive Future for All:

Solar Development employs over 250 ‘super sales women’. These women are often victims of climate change, forced to search for additional sources of income after failed farming harvests. Selling solar products allows them to increase their earnings which they can invest in the education of their children. In these environmentally vulnerable regions, climate change is felt through an increase in agriculture instability, water scarcity and lack of overall weather pattern predictability. In the Global North, climate change effects are not immediate, which is why it is important for governments in these regions to take a more radical stance on climate change in support of distant nations. Little Sun lamps create a positive narrative around environmental solutions showing that the future can be bright if we work together.

Video 4: On the fascination of Little Sun and searching for CO2 in the garage

Olafur and Nabil share their personal experience with Little Sun and discuss the importance of Little Sun as an educational tool both in Europe and in Africa. It teaches students and children about carbon emissions, renewable energy, and with this new knowledge, youth worldwide are able to make conscious and sustainable choices that empower their futures.


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