The United Nations sponsored the Solar Electric Light Fund’s trip (SELF) to Paris the week of December 7, 2015 to introduce our Solar Market Garden (SMG) project in Benin, West Africa to the world. Check here all week to read dispatches from the conference!

Dec 11, 2015

Exhausted, but happy, the SELF delegation leaves for home after being honored for their Solar Market Garden project by the UN Climate Change Secretariat.  Delegates, however, did not go home.  They were supposed to be done by Friday, but negotiations are running into Saturday with the hope that an agreement can be finished.

Dec 10, 2015

Sixteen game-changing initiatives from around the world were honored as winners of a prestigious United Nations climate change award at a special ceremony this evening. Here, Executive Director, Bob Freling, President of ADESCA, Issifatou Kissira, and Dr. Mamoudou Setamou are receiving the Momentum For Change, Women For Results Award.

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. Speakers at the ceremony included United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. To watch the ceremony, visit this link:

Momentum For Change Award

Dec 9, 2015

SELF Executive Director Bob Freling was a featured speaker for the UN Climate Change Secretariat’s Momentum For Change “Women For Results” Round Table at the Paris Climate Summit.  He talked about SELF’s Solar Market Garden Project in Benin and the positive effects it has had on the lives of women and their families. Watch the presentation here:


Here is a photo of our SELF “Momentum For Change” delegation at a function at the  Grand Palais where SELF was honored for its Solar Market Garden program.


Our work in Benin, West Africa began 10 years ago when Dr. Mamoudou Setamou (right), an agriculture expert at Texas A&M University, reached out to SELF with a request to bring solar power to his native land of Kalalé, a poor, arid region in the northern part of Benin. Here he is with Executive Director, Bob Freling in front of SELF’s banner at the Momentum for Change booth.


Dec 8, 2015

Karen Allen, our Development Director, and Issifatou Kissira, the President of our local partner ADESCA, meet for the first time in Paris!


Dec 7, 2015

One of our representatives will be Issifatou Kissira, the President of ADESCA, SELF’s local partner in Benin that coordinates the women’s farming cooperatives.

Issifatou will spend the week sharing her experiences about the positive changes that have occurred since she and her fellow women farmers took advantage of SELF’s SMG system.  It combines solar pumps with drip irrigation to help women farmers in Benin grow food for their families year-round, in spite of a six-month dry season. This enables the women to feed their families, become agricultural entrepreneurs, and gain standing in their communities.

The reason for SELF’s UN invitation is that it was named a winner of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat’s “Momentum for Change 2015 Lighthouse Activities” competition this past fall.   SELF is one of 16 organizations selected for this prestigious award. It recognizes some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change.

In addition to Ms Kissira, the SELF delegation includes Bob Freling, SELF’s Executive Director; Dr. Mamoudou Setamou who first requested SELF’s assistance in Benin 10 years ago; and Karen Allen, SELF’s Director of Development.  SELF will be sending dispatches throughout their week in Paris.  Please check here and on our social media for the latest news.

Issifatou Kissira, President of ADESCA

Shop for SELF

Shop for SELF

Case for Giving

Case for Giving

SELF Case for Giving

Annual Report

2017 SELF Annual Report

2017 SELF Annual Report

Donate Online

Donate Online

Join Our Mailing List

Join Our Mailing List