Lend a Hand for Rafiki

Help Rafiki sell 400 solar powered lighting and cellphone charging to off-grid homes



For this second project in the SunFunder-Global Cycle Solutions partnership, a $10,000 loan will help Global Cycle Solutions sell 400 Sun King solar products through their Rafiki network in the Arusha and Morogoro regions of Tanzania. 

  1. For solar customers. Rafikis, which means 'friend(s)' in Swahili, are village sales agents that Global Cycle Solutions trains and manages to promote solar in rural communities. Rafiki sell the award winning Sun King Pro directly to customers, which replaces kerosene as the primary lighting energy source at home and rids the need to pay for cellphone charging outside the house. By switching to a Sun King product, a family can save $83 annually in kerosene expenses and cellphone charging costs.

  2. For Rafikis. Another significant impact is the extra disposable income that Rafiki earn. With each Sun King product sold, Rafiki earn a commission of about $6. This is enough for active Rafiki to increase their average daily income by over $4, which some, like Upendo, have used to build more rooms at her house and buy a cow to generate even more income by selling milk.

The projected impact of the Sun King Pro on each customer's household:




Because households are scattered and villages are far from each other, electrification has been slow in rural Tanzania. Only 2% of rural Tanzanians have access to electricity, and an overwhelming majority relies on paraffin for lighting. This forces the country's poor to spend $715 million per year on hazardous kerosene for lighting, which in addition to being an economic burden leads to health problems and pollution.

The Rafiki network was established to reach the rural Tanzanians that could benefit the most from going solar. Rural families can buy solar lights directly from Rafiki who live in or near their communities and, should the Rafiki agree to it, families could even potentially pay for their solar lights in installments if they cannot pay in full upfront. Rafiki are also trained to perform basic maintenance tasks for thier customers who need after-sales service for their Sun King products. Every Rafiki is assigned to a supervising Global Cycle Solutions field officer who does check-up visits to the Rafiki's village twice a month to ensure payments are made and all product maintenance issues are resolved in a timely manner.




The Sun King Pro2 and Sun King Mobile define the industry's gold standard in affordable solar-powered lanterns with mobile-phone charging capability.

  • 15 times brighter than a kerosene lamp (150 lumen, warm-temperature light output)


  • Up to 36 hours of light on one day’s charge


  • 5 years of daily performance 


  • Includes a 2-year warranty


  • Dual phone or radio charging capacity with 2 universal USB ports


  • 8 times brighter than a kerosene lamp (75 lumen, warm-temperature light output)


  • Up to 36 hours of light on one day’s charge


  • 5 years of daily performance


  • 1 universal USB port for phone charging 


  • Includes a 2-year warranty


100% Funded

By 172 People

$0 to go

out of $10,000 Target

This project is fully funded!


Global Cycle Solutions is a social enterprise working to develop and disseminate affordable, quality technology for villagers around the world. Its mission is to create access to transformative technologies that respond to unmet needs in rural Tanzania. Its subsidiary, GCS Tanzania Limited, is building a distribution network of local entrepreneurs who teach, introduce, and sell high-impact technologies to villagers in the most remote of places.


Loan term: 12 months

Repayment schedule: every 3 months

Interest rate: principal repayments only

Impact points: equivalent to 3.5% annual interest rate

Repayment Date Status
1 Jun 2014 Repaid
2 Sep 2014 Repaid
3 Dec 2014 Repaid
4 Mar 2015 Repaid


Arusha and Morogoro combined have a total population of 5.3 million people, representing 10% of Tanzania's population. In the 2001 census, only 2% of Arusha's population had access to electricity and 0% in Morogoro. There are approximately 70 active Rafiki promoting and selling solar products in Arusha, and another 50 in Morogoro. The Global Cycle Solutions team plans to expand and recruit more Rafiki in the Manyara region.

Below is a map of where active Rafiki are located throughout the two areas: