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Lighting up homes for healthy children and families

Many families in rural Western Kenya use kerosene tin lamps for lighting their houses. others use candles, firewood and kerosene lanterns if they are fairly rich by rural standards. Every evening young children who are always with their mothers and other siplings enhale smoke that is unhealthy which leads chidlren and families to suffer from eye problems, chest as well as be exposed to houses catching fire since most of the poor peoples houses are made of grass. Working with parents at early childhood centres, we shall set up a solar lanterns acquisition centre where parents will purchase the lanterns at affordable cost through a credit arrangement.

Photo of Namunyu Robert
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Parents at one ECDE centre will form a group. Discussions and education of clean renewable energy  will be done. Since they know each other, they will guarantee each other to purchas low cost but durable solar lanterns at $ 9.5 dollars by credit. With an everage of 70 parents per ECDE centre and later working with 18 centres, over 1,800 children lives will be improved plus the lives of other family members at an average of 5 members per family. thus 6,300.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Children and family members will greatly benefit from the project. A total of 6,300 family members in the community are expected to benefit in Kakamega County as a pilot.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

1. Provide information about solar lanterns to parents and local leaders. 2. Demonstrate how it can work to the parents. 3. Organise groups and commence the process of recruitment and purchase of lanterns on credit basis. 4. Fine tune the credit scheme

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

1. Work with experts in the area of credit system establishment at village level. 2. Identify workable feedback from OpenIDEO community 3. Work out a monitoring and cash collection system to late on develop it into a revolving fund for the community

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jonathan Cole

In theory this is a good idea. There are solar lanterns available at this low price. They are inflatable and waterproof.
However they use lithium polymer batteries. The lanterns only have a 1 year warranty. If the lanterns only last 1 year or even two years, is this something that people in African villages can afford? The lanterns cost $7.99 or three for $19.99. If they last one year, is that less than the cost of kerosene that would be used by a kerosene lamp of similar light output? Also it is possible to become a reseller of these solar lamps so possibly they can be purchased for even less money by the organization set up to distribute them. Since they are inflatable, it should cost very little to ship them in quantity.

Photo of Jonathan Cole

Another thing to look into is if these lantern lights are well protected from UV rays. Plastic items often quickly degrade in strong sunlight.

Photo of Namunyu Robert

Hi Laura and Jonathan,
I have some experience with solar lanterns and more specifically D.Light manufactured types. The quality is much better and the one that I referred to in my idea last for atleast two years. We did some initial working with households and from their own reporting they indicated they are saving money since they do not have to buy kerosene which is very expensive. Combined with the opportunity to charge phones, the indicated to be saving about $ 8 per months. Such saving is huge. However I will take note of the suggestions you have shared.

Photo of Laura Mauney

That's fantastic, Namunyu. And for the record, the string lights I mentioned have great longevity, and are able to store energy even on cloudy days. However, they are better used for exterior lighting. I am wondering, are you looking for ideas in respect to financing the purchases?

Photo of Laura Mauney

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