A good hundred years after man tamed electricity to produce light at will, hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens on Planet Earth still do not have access to a safe source of light when it is dark.
Lanterns that burn kerosene are used by many of these have-nots, but are fraught with risk to health and life. The smoke can cause asphyxiation, while there is also the risk of clothes or thatched huts catching fire.
It is in this context that the WakaWaka, a solar energy-powered LED lamp is something that can literally light up the lives of millions of homes across some of the poorest nations on earth.
The WakaWaka is a portable LED lamp that is expected to cost less than $10. To put it in perspective, this is as much money as it would cost a household to buy a couple of months of subsidised kerosene. It is also often more than what some people earn in an entire day.
The good news is that on a full day’s solar charge, the lamp can run for up to 16 hours, which is 25-50% more than what some of its competitors can run for.
It is precisely for this reason that the WakaWaka should also be viewed as something relevant for those of us living in urban areas or developed countries. For us, it can be used as a light source at campsites, or a means to charge rechargeable batteries, mobile phones etc. This will reduce the need to rely on the grid, in turn reducing carbon footprint.