In 2009 a professor visiting from Ghana lamented to faculty at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) that students from rural parts of their country were unprepared for the rigors of the University. They noted that if the students had access to safe, affordable and reliable lights, they would be able to spend more time studying and also replace the kerosene lamps and candles that cause financial and health issues.
The IEE team, in conjunction with UCSB’s Engineers Without Borders, designed, developed and began distribution of the light in 2010 through the newly created non-governmental organization, Unite to Light. As of 2017, over 90,000 lights have been distributed to 70 countries.
How We Operate
Unite to Light is a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN #27-2942180) with a mission to manufacture and distribute efficient, durable, low cost solar lamps to people without access to electricity. We target those that the existing solar market does not: children, women, health clinics, midwives, and victims of natural disasters. We have distributed over 90,000 lamps to 70 countries.
Unite to Light operates primarily through the generosity of others. The majority of our lights have been distributed through the efforts of our nonprofit partners. These partners purchase lights from us, at cost, and then donate them to people in need. Unite to Light also has projects for which we raise funds focused on the areas of education, midwives and disaster response. For these projects we seek donations, grants and corporate partnerships.
In addition, Unite to Light sells lights to people with electricity on a "Buy One, Give One" basis. This creates a pool of lights that Unite to Light distributes according to our focus areas and community need.
In The Field
Board Member Gisela Voss in Haiti with Community Members as part of a trip with WE Charity.