Night falls early at the equator—about 6:30—and hovers for 12 hours, plus there is no halo effect lighting from nearby electrified cities. A small solar lamp that can be charged daily with the sun thus makes a huge contribution to dark evenings. The lamps provide clean energy, replacing kerosene lanterns that emit terrible black smoke.
The lamps are good for reading, sewing, and any other household task you would undertake—much better than a candle or kerosene lantern. So far Solar Circle has distributed more than 10,000 lamps through the barter program.
Solar Circle’s origins are in solar ovens: bringing solar ovens to the area led to starting a small industry in Tanzania to build solar ovens with materials common to the local area. Recently, though, Solar Circle realized that there was a higher demand for solar lamps than for the ovens. Working with Joyce and community leaders, Solar Circle decided to expand to include solar lighting. Solar Circle’s goal is to serve the villagers, and thus to shift focus depending on current needs. Solar Circle’s current aim is thus to ensure that more homes have solar lighting.