With more than 800 million websites on WordPress alone, it should come as no surprise that some incredible organizations are using it to serve their communities. Here at Pressable, we are grateful for the opportunity to provide many of them with managed WordPress hosting.
Our “Hosting For Good” series aims to highlight some of these organizations that use technology to give back to the community. Their work is changing the world, and we’re excited to share their stories with you. We hope the series encourages you and inspires your work with WordPress and beyond.
If you need a light to read by, you flip a switch, and one comes on. If you want to keep your food fresh, you set it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.
These seemingly effortless tasks aren’t so simple for more than 800 million people in the world without electricity, and Little Sun is working to change that.
Little Sun is a nonprofit organization focused on creating affordable clean energy solutions for people without access, and it’s making a huge impact across Africa and beyond.
“Energy is a really big thing,” said Felix Hallwachs, Little Sun’s Foundation Director. “Energy is basic to human living and human development.”
Energy is part of pretty much everything people do — at home and work. People without electricity may use kerosene lamps or cook over open flames, Felix said. These methods work, but they also can lead to health concerns, like burns, dizziness, or respiratory or vision problems from inhaling fumes.
Ample access to energy creates opportunity and drives development and economic prosperity, Felix said. A lack of access does the opposite. It keeps people from advancing in every aspect of their lives.
Holding Hands with the Sun
Little Sun’s mission is to create global connections and inclusivity by ensuring everyone can access energy.
One way they work toward this mission is the Little Sun lamp. The small, portable solar light was Little Sun’s first development when it started in 2012.
The lamp originally was distributed to people in Ethiopia without electricity, but it has grown widely in use. It gives people access to light in the evening without exposure to chemicals like kerosene or to fire. When people can see inside their homes after dark, they can do things many others take for granted. For example, children can complete their homework, which supports their ability to learn and gives them forward momentum into an educated adulthood.
Following the development of the Little Sun lamp, the organization began working on larger projects. Today, it’s responsible for multiple energy-based projects, including:
- Using solar technology for agriculture which helps farmers grow more crops, increasing their incomes and helping their communities meet their nutritional needs.
- Delivering basic solar systems to power and enhance healthcare services. This effort helps provide better healthcare in areas that might not have doctor’s offices or hospitals with electricity.
- Deliver solar lamps and solar chargers to students and teachers in the Little Sun Education Program.
- Working with relief organizations to deliver solar lamps and phone chargers to refugees and internally displaced people who have been forced from their homes and are often living in camps without access to light or electricity.
“We’re addressing the dire need of many people to have energy to do the most basic things and to prosper,” Felix said. “We grab a little part of the sun and bring it to you.”
Most of Little Sun’s efforts focus on Sub-Saharan Africa because that’s where the greatest lack of energy is. However, they also distribute lamps and work to fulfill needs in other countries and retail them at a higher price in areas with access to energy to put solar power in everyone’s hands.
“We focus wherever there is an issue or wherever there is a donor willing to support the effort,” Felix said.
Shining a Light with WordPress
Since its beginnings, Little Sun has hosted a website for visibility and communication. The original site was bulky and difficult to manage on the backend, so they migrated it to WordPress.
Little Sun’s website is the organization’s link to the audience, making people aware of the organization, its mission, and housing its stories, Felix said.
“What we’re building is something happy and prosperous,” he said. “The website is our calling card, our storytelling mainframe, and the place where we can do some business and attract funding.”
And the stories are key to accomplishing Little Sun’s mission. The organization’s leaders don’t want to focus on fear, shame, or differences but instead want to use the art of storytelling through various mediums to create a new narrative of hope and equality in relation to sharable energy and climate action. It is about all of us holding hands with the sun.
- The Grace of the Sun solar-powered light poem that urged commitment to renewable energy at the 2021 UN climate conference.
- The Fast Forward series of short films exploring artists’ dreams for a regenerative world.
- The Reach for the Sun illustrated campaign that’s a sponsorship with the Ikea Foundation.
In addition to artistic storytelling initiatives, the website also includes an ecommerce store where people can purchase Little Sun products for themselves, supporting the cause. It also houses a donation portal, helping people support Little Sun’s mission.
Accepting donations from the same portal in more than one currency was a challenge and a must-have for the website, said Ashley Mrozek, Little Sun’s Senior Digital Manager.
“Donations are EU or US based, so there are certain complications that creates on the backend with data laws and such,” she said. “It’s a bit more complicated, but WordPress has made it really simple.”
A Little Piece of Sunshine
Everyone deserves access to energy to fulfill basic human needs, and Little Sun is doing its part to make that access possible while using artistic storytelling to help others understand the importance of the organization’s mission. Pressable is honored to host Little Sun’s website and to support their important work. You can support Little Sun’s mission by purchasing from its shop or donating.