Spotlight on: Free, but not for nothing

Although recipients may have very little or no money, there is always a small (symbolic) amount of money or community service that must be provided by the recipient. The ‘free, but not for nothing’ principle is important in terms of long-term development for several reasons:

  • The principle establishes equal, reciprocal relations between the provider and recipient and encourages a sustainable relationship.
  • The money that has to be payed or work the recipients have to do in return; adds value to the WakaWakas. 

It is common experience that free products often have little value in a recipient community. Free items are often handled carelessly or sold for quick profit. We want to establish sustainable ownership over people’s personal power solutions. 

The WakaWaka Foundation believes that the ‘free, but not for nothing’ principle is of major importance! Because of this reason, implementing the principle is a prerequisite for participation in WakaWaka Foundation projects such as the Sun Sharing Alliance program


Some examples of the ‘free but not for nothing’ efforts and successes are:

  Planting Trees, Haiti 
  CODEP is an organization that is working
  on reforesting Haiti by planting forests and fruit
  trees together in thirty small, rural communities.
  The communities’ service in return was planting
  50000 extra trees for the 1175 donated
  WakaWaka Lights. 



Safe Play Area, Belize
Grid Earth, our partner in Belize, assisted a village concerned about the safety of their children. A small property was acquired and cleared where the WakaWaka recipients created a secured play area. This allowed the mothers to oversee the children interchangeably.

  Symbolic Price, Mali
  With the support of our Dutch partner
  organization   in Mali, Dogon Women’s Initiative,
  Dogon women save money for the purchase of
  WakaWakas. They pay an equivalent of 3.50
  Euros for a WakaWaka Light to the Dogon
  Women’s Initiative for the purchase of more
  WakaWaka Lights. This symbolic price makes the
  product more valuable for these women.


Improving Schools, Haiti
The parents of children who received WakaWaka Lights have improved their school by purchasing classroom ventilators, paving a path to the entry, connecting the building to the water supply and providing water collection products.