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Solar lantern design and production

Production and use

Forty Glowstar lanterns were made and were tested by households in the Nakuru, Meru and Machakos areas of Kenya. Although there were some problems with the sample lanterns, the overall reaction was very positive. As one user said: 'I've fallen in love with it already. I'd hate to lose it.'

Margaret Warrumu's family was one of those testing the new lantern. She found that it reduced the amount of money she spent on kerosene by about two-thirds. She also reported that it had transformed everyday family life: 'It's especially good in lighting my way outside and helping my children do their homework. People can stay up later. With kerosene, every hour we stay up burns more, so we turn the lamp off and go to bed early to save money. Now, with the lantern, we recharge it every day and stay up longer.'

Farmer John Ngujuna used his sample lantern to light up the work area in the centre of his 3.5 acre farm, allowing him to work later. His neighbour Stephen Njenga had a rather more unusual idea. He used the last hour of his lantern charge to light up his chicken hut, believing that his chickens laid more eggs when they had light for longer. John was also delighted that he could plug in his radio and listen to African Nations Cup football commentaries!

Margaret Warrumu's experience

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

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