It is quite ironic that while we are able to send a man to the moon, we are unable to provide something as basic as electricity to everybody in the world. Sadly though, that is the case. An astounding 1.6 billion people or over 20% of the world's population have no power but instead, rely on rudimentary forms of light, like kerosene lamps that are not only inefficient, but also, dangerous and toxic.
Now, a Dutch company is hoping to help alleviate the situation with a solar LED lamp called WakaWaka (means Shine Bright in Swahili). Developed by Netherlands based Off-Grid Solutions, the solar lamp is small enough to be fitted on a soda bottle or, hung from the ceiling. It comes with a number of intensity settings and can provide up to 16 hours of reading light when fully charged. What's even more amazing is that it is fitted with a replaceable battery that can last for several years if the lamp is used daily. If not, a few hours in the sun will get it going again.
The only hurdle to making it a household fixture in Africa is the lamp's rather steep price of $35 USD - A fortune in a country where the average income is $2 USD a day. The company believes that they can reduce the cost to less than $10 USD in the near future, but meanwhile have came up with a rather innovative solution to get the lamps to the people of Africa.
They launched a worldwide campaign asking people to pitch in, promising to give away three free lamps for every $125 USD donated. The response they received far surpassed their original goal of raising $30,000 USD. By the time the campaign ended on January 7th, the company had collected over $48,000 USD, more than enough to at least get started in lighting up Africa like a 'Christmas Tree'. WakaWaka lamps have already making lives a little brighter in schools and homes in the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania.
And, while the lamp, was designed for people that have no access to electricity, the company is also planning to sell them to the general public and believes that the nifty device will be popular for camping, reading in bed and believe it or not, mobile phone charging.
Resources: Gizmondo.com, examiner.com, goodnessapple.com