Solar Electric Light Fund

Rating: 4.91 stars   11 reviews

Issues: Environment, International, Economic Development, Microfinance

Location: 1612 K St, NW Ste 402 Washington DC 20006 USA

Mission: SELF''s mission is to provide solar power and wireless communications to a quarter of the world''s population living in energy poverty. Acting as a catalyst, SELF provides technical and financial assistance to empower these people to change their lives.SELF believes that energy is a human right. To meet global challenges such as food and water scarcity, climate change and poverty, SELF is working to assign greater priority to the importance of sustainable energy among international development banks, aid agencies, foundations, and philanthropic individuals, who are committed to improving the health, education, and economic prospects of the world''s poorest citizens.
Results: Since 1990 SELF has completed rural electrification projects in 18 countries, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Solomon Islands, Bhutan, Nigeria, Lesotho, and most recently in Benin, Burundi and Rwanda.  We are expanding into Haiti this year. Our projects have improved the health, education and economic opportunities of tens of thousands of people. In 2008, SELF brought electricity to 10 health centers and 3 schools and completed the initial site assessment phases for 17 additional health centers and 2 whole-village electrification projects.
Target demographics: the one quarter of humanity that lives without electricity
Direct beneficiaries per year: Each new health clinic directly benefits an estimated 10,000 rural villagers. In 2008, SELF electrified 10 health centers in Rwanda and Lesotho. SELF also brought solar electricity and Internet access to three schools in the remote Eastern Cape region of South Africa, benefitting 2,000 children and their families.
Geographic areas served: International
Programs: Seventy percent of people in the developing world have no access to electricity and are completely isolated from the modern world's wealth of resources. In communities with no electricity grid, SELF brings clean, solar power to light their homes, schools and health clinics; pump safe drinking water and irrigate their fields; refrigerate their vaccines; and power their micro-enterprise centers. We also bring wireless Internet to improve the education in their schools and diagnostics in their clinics. Our Solar Integrated Development (SID) model dramatically improves the quality of life for people at the bottom of the pyramid without contributing more greenhouse gases to global warming. Projects are funded with micro-finance. Since our founding in 1990, SELF has launched solar rural electrification projects in 18 countries: China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Solomon Islands, Bhutan, Nigeria, Lesotho, and most recently in Benin, Burundi and Rwanda.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

A donation to SELF gives way more than once--first, it funds micro-loans to let off-grid clients purchase solar lighting solutions. Second, the solar lighting displaces kerosine lighting whose smoke is toxic, especially to children. Third, the loan can be paid off with the funds saved on kerosine purchase, and afterwards that money is available for other discretionary purchases. And last, the donation translates into carbon offsets at about a ton per $10 donation for the donor.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

39 people found this review helpful

I know SELF to be one of the very best providers of elec power in the world, bring elec power to individuals and villages that most surely gives them a foothold on raising then selves up from poverty.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

videos and reports from others

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

probably not be able to do as well.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

its diligence.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all met online.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save more lives.

Ways to make it better...

I was able to travel to some of SELF's project sites

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting info out to people who can support it.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization deserves recognition.,

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

44 people found this review helpful

I have worked with SELF for over two years and it is hands-down the best bang-for-the-buck organization I have ever encountered. From my own interactions with SELF's solar-powered drip irrigation project in northern Benin (http://www.self.org/benin.asp), I have witnessed SELF's ability to dramatically change lives on the ground, and to implement projects in a sustainable and culture-conscious manner. Additionally, on the home-front, SELF keeps expenses low and goes to great lengths to make sure as much money as possible is going to projects that help the world's poor secure energy services, and not to administrative costs.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Benin, where hundreds of families are now earning incomes, improving their nutrition, and sending their children to school.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get more hard-core materials (white papers, reports, articles) out there about the organization's work so it can be cited and accessed as an example of best practices (since it is!).

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Working in a small team where everyone works incredibly hard and respects that effort in others.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Inspiring, the kinds of people who you hear about but never think will cross your path.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

solve the problem of low agricultural productivity and malnutrition in several countries.

Ways to make it better...

There were a central communications portal for staff involved in all projects so we could easily access relevant information without having to wait or ask for it to be dispensed.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

(or will be) taking technologies to scale and working with governmental agencies to facilitate this process.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

40 people found this review helpful

this article was eye opening. I now see how wasteful my generation has been. It is time that all generations pull together and learn more about Solar Electric Light Fund.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a new light I have learn more so I can tell others

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

push our delegates to endorse the programs for the enviroment

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

new ways I can help to spread the word

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable and helpful

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

really start to educate the new generations of people about what could happen to 'THEIR" WORLS

Ways to make it better...

enlightening and informative

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the information isn't getting to the right people or groups

One thing I'd also say is that...

THE MORE PEOPLE THAT READ THESE ARTICLES the better educated we all will be

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

43 people found this review helpful

To save the Humanity,Solar Electric Light as a source of renewable energy while honoring the integrity of indegenous cultures and respect the delicate balance of local and global ecosystem will realise our most desired improved health, education, agriculture, Industry and livelihood. Solar Electric Light will reduce carbon level in atmosphere simultaneously providing electric energy need of every house in a cost effective manner; including access to clean, disease-free water, producing organic pollution free vegetable (and thus access to pollution-free sustainable food);reading, writing and promote use of computer for education purpose.It will provide renewable energy to boost Agriculture production and productive by making the dead soil alive,besides greening the barren land to supplement crop production. Solar Energy Light will also open up new vistas for creating livelihood for millions of unemployed both in urban and rural areas.It will support building basic infrastructure especially in villages like street lighting,running of pumps for Agriculture and drinking water purpose and providing power to small scale village industries etc. It can be termed also as a life-support system contributing both to human peace and ecosystem peace- the ultimate need of the biosphere.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Improving the quality of poor and remote rural people.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I will bring revolution in rural areas of any country of the world.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I enjoy, as I become part of Nature.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Dedicated to forces of ecosystem and their love for Nature.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the rural sphere which will be vibrated with prosperity,sustainability and peace.

Ways to make it better...

If ican have access to more fund to cover more areas.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Global acceptance and funding along with innovating more and more cost-effective technology.

One thing I'd also say is that...

There should be no bias in selecting the most appropriate review.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

43 people found this review helpful

Just seeing, reading and knowing what they do helps motivate me to take my part and be a good citizen of our planet. Not only are they doing the good things to ensure the future, they are reaching out to all the people responsible as well- all inhabitants.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

absolutely awesome and dedicated!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

31 people found this review helpful

Solar Electric Light Fund is such an inspiring organization to me in that they are working with those in third world countries to not only help the environment, to better their lives, but to send the message of being a responsible earth resident by their example.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

show the world how simple it can be to live responsibly and put their solar energy units throughout their area. Their clinics would be more plentiful and accessible.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

33 people found this review helpful

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is a great nonprofit organization that really cares about changing the world in a positive way, one light bulb at a time! They are really committed to raising awareness of our impact on this planet; and how we can go about making positive changes to reduce our carbon "footprint." All in all, a great organization with some really wonderful people.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the everyday things that I do around my home.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to increase their presence on the web through more personal networks.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

learning more about what I can do to make a positive change in the world around me.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

really committed and dedicated to this cause.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

generate more publicity about what they do and make a greater impact on the world at large.

Ways to make it better...

I had been personally contacted by one of their staff.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

people who are still stuck in the old ways of doing things.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization is pushing the technology of the future - something that is really needed today!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

30 people found this review helpful

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is a good nonprofit organization because it allows me to help two causes that I feel strongly about--the environment and people who live in poorly developed countries. SELF encourages us to do things, like using energy efficient light bulbs, that will be better for our environment. They also are working to provide those people living in poverty with a better standard of living.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the ability to contribute to two causes that are important to me by giving to one organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly and appreciative of the donation I made and the actions I took.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help so many more people in poorly developed countries to improve their daily life.

Ways to make it better...

I could've picked a specific project they were working on to contribute to.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting the word out to others about what great work they do.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

31 people found this review helpful

I am a supporter of SELF because I believe in their mission to provide solar power and wireless communications to a quarter of the world’s population living in energy poverty. Acting as a catalyst, SELF provides technical and financial assistance to empower these people to change their lives. It is a sustainable way to change the well being and quality of life for those who need it most.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their strong social networking skills and their transparency about their work.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that the work they're doing really matters.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, passionate and hard working.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create a more sustainable world through sustainable and environmentally friendly power.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful?