Countdown to 2020

December 7, 2016

Scotland Lights Up Malawi

A partnership project originated and sponsored by Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group

The original project delivery partners were Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group (part funded by the Scottish Government), Keep Scotland Beautiful, SolarAid and Glasgow Caledonian University. The project supports Scotland’s ambitions for climate justice by raising awareness of the need for, and investing in, solar lights for Malawi; undertaking research into climate justice; and educating children both in Scotland and in Malawi.

From the start, the project had three core elements and involved three key partners:

    1. Measurement and impact – Glasgow Caledonian University, this resulted in a report which will be available shortly measuring the project and impact/ success.
    2. Delivery in Malawi – Solar Aid, the international charity does the actual delivery and on the ground work in Africa, SLUM effectively partnered with them and raises funds which go to the charity.
    3. Climate justice and Scottish schools – Keep Scotland Beautiful delivered the Scottish Curriculum element of the project as part of their work on Climate Justice in Scottish Schools. They have used the SLUM project as an example and trained a cohort of primary teachers to deliver this curriculum across 120 pilot schools in Scotland over a year (2014–15). KSB developed teaching materials and curriculum and trained teachers through their Eco Schools programme.

For more information on Scotland Lights up Malawi or to make a direct donation or get involved please visit the website here.

Solar ambitions

The original aims of Scotland Lights up Malawi were to deliver £200k of funds to Solar Aid (thereby reducing use of kerosene lighting with a clean energy source) while simultaneously creating a case study for Scotland on the topic of Climate Justice. The other aim of the project was to ensure that it was measurable so that impact could be gauged.

Business focused funding

Scotland Lights up Malawi is currently (Jan 2016) at £142k of its £200k goal for the first phase of fundraising. The second phase will see SLUM carry on with fundraising activity for Solar Aid as an ongoing project led by Ian Marchant and Ruth Milken – it is no longer directly tied to the 2020 Climate Group. The relationship between SLUM and the 2020 Group was a very significant one – essentially the Group provided the critical relationships and networking that enabled successful fundraising. The fundraising element has been entirely business focused and as such relied on the Group’s network and connections to enable it to raise the funds and establish the relationships to go forward.

“The generous, ambassadorial support from the 2020 Group for the campaign was invaluable.”
– Scotland Lights up Malawi campaign member

Working in partnership

Glasgow Caledonian University was commissioned by the 2020 Group to conduct a research project in order to measure and report on the initiative’s success and impact. This report was produced in 2016.


Keep Scotland Beautiful was responsible for the educational aspect of the project, which has been running throughout the 2014 / 2015 school year. During the school year they:

  • developed an understanding of Climate Justice within 20 school clusters across Scotland;
  • provided a range of classroom resources for P6 – S2 teachers to educate young learners about climate change, renewable energy and sustainability;
  • ran a teacher professional learning programme to develop knowledge and understanding of Climate Justice, renewable energy and campaign making skills; and
  • organised a national Campaign Challenge event to celebrate pupils learning.

The education programme has provided a broad range of opportunities for young learners to develop relationships across cultures, to understand the international dimensions of sustainable development and to hone their critical, creative and compassionate communication skills.

Solar Aid is an international charity that combats poverty and climate change by providing access to solar lights in some of the most remote regions of the world and building a movement to eradicate the kerosene lamp. SolarAid delivers SLUM on the ground in Malawi and SLUM essentially functions as a Scottish fundraising arm for the charity.

Delivering impact

Based on data collected by Keep Scotland Beautiful (for its School Delivery Report), the following were delivered by the Scotland Lights Up Malawi programme:

  • 78 Scottish Schools signed up to the project from 20 Local Authority clusters;
  • More than 2500 young learners were in involved in activities relating to the project;
  • 16 Local Campaign Challenge competitions took place in schools across Scotland (from the Highlands and Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway);
  • Over 500 children, in over 80 teams, worked on Campaign Challenge entries;
  • Tailored lessons were delivered in 9 schools reaching 350 children; • 50% of teachers took part in the professional learning programme;
  • 10 professional learning events took place providing detailed knowledge of climate change, climate justice, solar science and campaigning skills;
  • A range of new and practical teaching resources were produced to support teachers in the classroom; and
  • 100 pupils had the opportunity to present their campaigns at a Campaign Challenge Event on 17 June 2015 in Stirling.

Data gathered by Solar Aid notes the following deliverables:

  • Number of solar lights: 45,806 •
  • People with access to the solar lights: 287,717
  • Money saved for families in £: *5,943,246*
  • Extra hours of child study time: *57,069,431*
  • Tonnes of CO₂ emissions averted: *24,718.7*
  • People experiencing better health: 164,932.

* over the lifetime of the solar lights