WakaWaka – Share the sun

What if we could redress the problem that 1.2 billion people still lack access to safe light, by sharing one of our biggest common goods? WakaWaka is creating products that rely on renewable energy: our shared and inexhaustible sun. WakaWaka is making an effort to create impact as a social enterprise with producing high-quality solar systems. For every solar light or charger you buy, they give one to a family caught in crisis or living without access to electricity. We were curious about their development and next steps and asked them about their impact.

Sustainable necessity

WakaWaka’s products are not only made to be a sustainable and handy solution for us in the West. More important is the necessity of this solution in developing countries. The lack of access to electricity and lighting in these countries has huge economic and social effects. The alternatives to create lights in the homes – such as candles and kerosene – are very damaging to the health of people and the environment. Also, by creating access to light for people in developing areas, they save time and energy to commit to other pursuits.

So far, WakaWaka has reached 1 million people, by spreading 200.000 WakaWaka’s to households (the UN calculated that an average household consists of five people). What is their next step in developing their company, brand and impact?

Now the product has proven itself, we want to focus on creating inclusive business models that empower people in East Africa.
Doing social business

WakaWaka is working with two business models. First, there is the ‘share the sun’-model. When people in the western markets buy a WakaWaka product, a light is donated to families in direct need, living without access to electricity. As WakaWaka does not want to disturb the market under normal circumstances, donations are only spread in conflict zones right after natural disasters. Second, WakaWaka is selling products from their office in Rwanda, via a special payment model. People buy a scratch card and can activate their WakaWaka with a special code. A well-thought idea, since this pricing method makes the WakaWaka more affordable and accessible.

Handing out WakaWaka’s for free, could misbalance the local economy.
Creating awareness

WakaWaka is active in several markets to achieve their mission: safe and sustainable solar for all. By selling products in the Western market, they raise awareness for the need for safe light and power worldwide and let people experience how sustainable energy works. Moreover, selling in the Western market encourages the sales and marketing in Africa. “We believe in inspirational marketing as a tool, and selling to the Western market increases this aspiration level in developing markets”.

Growing your impact

For the years to come, WakaWaka wants to focus on the development of inclusive business models. How does this work? As a social enterprise, WakaWaka wants to stimulate local economies to become more self-reliant. They want to achieve this by educating the youth in the communities they operate, train local employees to sell and market solar products and let them run and setup independent WakaWaka selling points in the near future.

For us, this brand belongs to our collection of positive impact creators. By having a clear goal in mind, keep being focused and aiming for a social contribution, you can create the biggest impact. We can help organizations keeping track of their ‘why’, and make concrete plans on how to reach their full impact potential. We like to help frontrunners to change the world for the better, but we’re in it together: join the movement for a positive change! An overview of all impact creators, you’ll find on our Facebook page or Instagram.