SDFA was founded with a mere budget of less than US $1000, and benefiting only about 100 people, it has grown to impact over 350,000 people by 2016 through its overall program, Use Solar, Save Lives. In the last 5 years, SDFA-Kenya has provided vocational and business training to over 1200 youths who had informal education, the youths have made over 60,000 Mwangabora solar lamps from scrap metals and other recycled materials, benefiting 60,000 households, and ensuring over 200,000 children have clean energy for lighting and eliminating over 2.5 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. SDFA has also trained and helped women set up over 320 businesses from savings made for not using kerosene, when the women acquire the Mwangabora solar lamps. 60% of the businesses set up by women, have broken even and the groups have gone on to gain more financing from banks or micro finance institutions to expand.
As a sustainable design product, Mwangabora lamp has been exhibited in various countries. In 2013, it was in New York, and at the Pavilion of Art and Design in London. In the 2014 and 2015, Design Indaba exhibited Mwangabora in South Africa and from August to December 2015 it was exhibited in Netherlands. Mwangabora has been accepted as a permanent collection at High Museum of Atlanta and at the contemporary section of Victoria & Albert museum in London.
SDFA has continued to build upon the idea that improving knowledge skills and access to simple technological innovations such as access to affordable and sustainable energy are key life changing catalysts to reducing rural poverty and elevating vulnerable populations to thrive and improve their own livelihoods. SDFA continues to expand its main program “Use Solar, Save Lives” and initiates specific projects throughout Kenya, and Malawi. These projects range from Supporting Knowledge Warriors in Pastoralists Communities by partnering with a local grassroots organizations to support shepherd classes- for children who are culturally denied a chance to attend normal day classes- in local schools to Economically Empowering Women by supporting women’s groups in their new economic ventures, in farming and trade from money saved from using Mwangabora solar powered lamps to Empowering Youth by setting up youth centers that train and support youth in starting small businesses.
The range of projects exemplifies the theory of change SDFA was born out of and is ever so committed to, supporting vulnerable populations through leveraging resources, both economic and technical support to empower communities and youth to solve some of the most pressing issues today.