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Solar lantern design and production

The context

Do you ever stop to think about how much you rely on electricity in your everyday life? An astonishing two billion people - one-third of the world's population - don't have access to a central electricity service. How do you think this affects them?

In Kenya, only about 3% of the population is lucky enough to have electricity. In rural areas like Nakuru, this figure falls to less than one in a hundred. Margaret Warrumu, who lives in Nakuru, uses kerosene lamps as her family's main source of light. But the lamps don't provide much light, give off fumes and are a fire risk. With her mother, husband and seven children all living in the same house, Margaret spends 120 Kenyan shillings per month (about 1 in UK money) on kerosene. This is almost one-fifth of her total monthly income.

The World Bank - concerned about the problems faced by people like Margaret - challenged designers to produce a cheap, portable and durable light for rural areas. In 1997, a team from Intermediate Technology Consultants began work on a solar lantern to meet these needs.


Life in Nakuru



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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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