Smiling Through Light

Smiling Through Light works with networks of rural woman to provide clean, reliable and sustainable energy in Sierra Leone, through the distribution and sale of solar products, focusing on the last mile.

The organisation has supported team members to set up bank accounts and social security numbers; empowering them as clean energy leaders in their communities. Its sales teams have helped almost 9,000 people replace polluting kerosene lamps with clean alternatives, including 400 students – with a positive impact on their grades.

The business has educated over 800 community members on clean energy through its storytelling work, and developed a husband champions programme to support its female sales agents.
Fatmata’s story: no success without struggle

Fatmata is a formidable young woman, aged 28, married with two children. She is one of Smiling Through Light's clean energy agents, actively working to solve the energy access problem in her community. For Fatmata, the business means she can support her family and become more self-reliant. She loves to see the impact that the products have on her community. Having access to clean energy means changes in people’s lives and reduces poverty.

Many customers inform her that when they buy the products, it reduces the costs they face. Using the products also means an advance in technology and a healthy environment. Her customers are healthier, and can avoid the risk of burns, eye strain and breathing problems that comes from kerosene lamps.

Smiling Through Light gave Fatma training in clean energy products, and helped her set up a bank account and social security card. With her salary she can now support herself, cover her basic needs and contributes to her family and household with her monthly income. Her typical customers are local market women and traders, who are always happy and inspired by her. With her new job her status within the community has changed and people see her as a role model.

She says: “It is not just the income. I am more self-dependent, confident and healthier.”