Lighting and electricity are the backbone of civilization, yet many citizens in developing nations are left in the dark. Without electricity students aren’t able to study at night, healthcare clinics risk lives with toxic fumes from lamps, and many citizens aren’t able to feel secure when walking from place to place.
For years, kerosene lamps were the tool of choice for citizens in developing nations. Although relatively affordable, they aren’t nearly as efficient as other forms of lighting. Gaslights emit harmful fumes, pose a serious fire risk and also require frequent refueling. According to CNN, the average kerosene lamp burns an average of four hours per day and emits over 100kg of CO2 per year.
While building stable power grids isn’t practical for most nations, a couple of startups are using solar power to ensure nobody has to live in the dark.
The LuminAID is an inflatable lantern that looks like a pillow. Originally inspired by the relief efforts after the earthquake in Haiti, the LuminAID is a waterproof, solar powered lamp that folds flat until needed. Users simply leave the lamp in sunlight during the day, and by nightfall will have a fully juiced lamp to last them throughout the night.
The LuminAID Give Light, Get Light Package provides customer with their own LuminAID while also covering the cost for another light to be sent to those in need. The website lets you chose the partner organization to which the lamp should be sent.
Since their Shark Tank appearance and investment from Mark Cuban, LuminAID has sent over 2,000 solar lights to developing nations in conjunction with the non-profit organization Shelter Box. They’ve also done extensive work with the UNAIDS organization to help end violence towards women.
Battery life for the lamps range from 12-30 hours and the recharge time is seven hours. The LuminAID can be purchased individually starting at $24.95 via their website. The Give Light Get Light Package can be bundled with any purchase of $10 or more.
MPOWERD is a benefit corporation (B Corp) focused on developing consumer electronics to improve the lives of people in both developed and developing nations. Their flagship product, the Luci, similar to the LuminAID, is a solar powered light inspired by the needs of citizens in developing nations.
The Luci original (their flagship product) is waterproof, charges in only seven hours of direct sunlight, lasts up to 12 hours, and only weights 4.4oz. In addition to that, the Luci supports focused light so that, like a flashlight, a concentrated beam of light can illuminate the details of a specific item such as a map.
The company has teamed up with NGOs like New Course, International Medical Corps and Health & Hope Foundation to help give light to those in need, from women in Sub-Saharan Africa to health clinics in rural areas of Nepal. MPOWERD also offers the Give Luci program, enabling anyone to purchase a light and have it sent to a resident in a developing nation for only $9.99. You also can purchase a Luci for yourself on their website starting at $9.99 for their pocket-sized EMRG, going up to $24.99 for their frosted color-changing model.
Charles Costa is a marketing specialist helping technology companies grow, one word at a time. You can learn more at CharlesCosta.net