Power to Change Lives: Solar Lamp and Charger Now the 100th Object in the History of the World

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Toughstuff, which started trading just 15 months ago, has already sold more than 100,000 solar power kits benefitting 380,000 low-income consumers in Eastern and Southern Africa. Products have also been distributed to people in temporary camps in Haiti following the earthquake.

100 Objects ToughStuff Solar Panel and Charger

The inclusion of portable solar technology in the British Museum’s collection confirms how solar lamps and chargers are changing lives by bringing electricity to people who’ve never had it before -- powering mobile phones, lights and radios.

A solar lamp and charger, on sale for around $10, are now rubbing shoulders at The British Museum in London with some of the most rare and priceless artefacts in the world. The lamp and charger are the final members of the eclectic group of items which tell the History of the World in 100 Objects, the BBC and The British Museum have revealed today.

From an ancient Egyptian mummy, to the Sutton Hoo helmet, a Victorian tea-set and a credit card, all the objects featured in the BBC series reflect humankind’s development through its creations. The solar powered lamp and charger have been described by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, as objects which tell “the story of the ingenuity and the challenges that shape humanity in the 21st century.”

The inclusion of the solar kit as the 100th object has been welcomed by Andrew Tanswell, a British social entrepreneur. His organisation, ToughStuff, manufactures and sells robust lamps and chargers, built to withstand harsh environments, to some of the world’s poorest people.

Andrew Tanswell said: “The inclusion of portable solar technology in the British Museum’s collection confirms how solar lamps and chargers are changing lives by bringing electricity to people who’ve never had it before -- powering mobile phones, lights and radios.

“It also demonstrates how the business model developed to sell these products is working effectively, enabling people in very remote areas to have access to this technology and helping to lift people from poverty through enterprise.”

1.46 billion people in developing countries have no access to on-grid electricity. They use kerosene and candles for light, and poor quality dry-cell batteries for radios. These are costly, polluting, and damage people’s health. But ToughStuff’s solar kit offers an alternative: clean and free energy, saving people money whilst improving their health and the environment.

ToughStuff has also developed innovative distribution systems to get products to remote settlements. For example, through a “Business in a Box” program Village Solar Entrepreneurs sell and hire out solar panels and chargers.

Toughstuff, which started trading just 15 months ago, has already sold more than 100,000 solar power kits benefitting 380,000 low-income consumers in Eastern and Southern Africa. Products have also been distributed to people in temporary camps in Haiti following the earthquake.

Contact Information http://www.ToughStuffonline.org

Roger Hattam +44 (0) 20 72610983 +44 7768 801174 (m) Roger(dot)hattam(at)ToughStuffonline(dot)com

To receive a sample ToughStuff solar panel and LED lamp or for high resolution photographs and videos, please contact Roger Hattam.

More About ToughStuff

Videos: ToughStuff in 60 Seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRG7UjDdv7Y

What our users are saying about ToughStuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT1BI2SII5I

How ToughStuff is Helping Families: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcRV0S8Wsbw

ToughStuff establishing Village Entrepreneurs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q0Ft3tsez8

How Tough is ToughStuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4iqzAmVqFA

Over the past 15 months ToughStuff has brought clean and affordable energy to 380,000 low income people in the developing world and saved 1,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions. ToughStuff products help to:

  • Save consumers money and help lift them from poverty
  • Cause a significant reduction in CO2
  • Remove the environmental damage of discarded batteries
  • Enhance health by decreasing exposure to kerosene fumes
  • Improve study and educational opportunities thanks to dependable light sources
  • Increase micro enterprise employment by supporting local ToughStuff entrepreneurs.

ToughStuff is the winner of the 2010 NEMEX Renewables Innovation Award sponsored by British Gas at this year’s Environment and Energy Awards.

How ToughStuff can change lives -- Case studies

1 -- Tahiry, a case study, available for interview.

This is a link to a low resolution video about Tahiry, a Business in a Box Entrepreneur, (high res available) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ImMvmODA6w

In Madagascar, Tahiry, aged 25, has taken ToughStuff’s Solar Village Entrepreneur program to new heights. As a recent university graduate who could not find employment, he raised money from his family to become one of the first ToughStuff Solar Village Entrepreneurs (SVE). The SVE program enables entrepreneurs to create a livelihood by providing lighting within their community. An entrepreneur typically purchases between 30 and 50 solar panels and LED lamps that they then rent to villagers for the same prices as candles or kerosene. For the same cost, the LED light is brighter, healthier, and safer.

Tahiry started with 30 lamps and panels. After his first week he returned to the ToughStuff office to buy more, “The students are angry with me that I don’t have enough lights for them all. They need light to study!” Tahiry now has 2 employees and 115 solar kits -- lighting over 10% of the village. One of the employees recently noted: “ToughStuff has become so ingrained in the village that I can’t imagine life without it.”

2 -- For more information about how ToughStuff is helping improve information and security for elderly people living in temporary camps following the earthquake in Haiti: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/FGAI-893SJH?OpenDocument .

Biographies

Andrew Tanswell is a social entrepreneur; the CEO and joint founder of ToughStuff. He trained as an engineer and later worked as a management consultant building up his own niche change management consultancy firm. His international relief and development experience includes working with Medair in Iraq and Somalia as well as providing strategy and business development advice to large charities. He was the Executive Director for Micah Challenge UK before founding ToughStuff, a social business which aims to lift millions of people out of poverty through enterprise. Andrew was one of the winners of the 2009 Global Social Business Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs sponsored by the Skoll Foundation.

Adriaan Mol is an aid worker turned social entrepreneur and joint founder of ToughStuff. His awards include Winner of Global Social Benefit Incubator, Santa Clara University, California, 2006 and Winner of World Bank global Development Marketplace award, 2005 for BushProof, a social-enterprise that became a forerunner in the field of innovative drinking water supply. Adriaan has many years experience in organizational and strategic management of NGOs. His areas of expertise include design, implementation and evaluation of relief and development projects in Africa and Asia, including (civil) war and natural disaster situations. He also has technical expertise in (emergency) water supply, rural (social) marketing, well drilling, appropriate technology, and entrepreneurial approaches to poverty reduction including base of the pyramid (BoP) business.

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Ros Dawson

Roger Hattam
ToughStuff
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