Lighting up the dark

The MwangaBora solar lamp is more than just a light source; it empowers and liberates residents in rural African areas.

Part of the Project

With the hope of a better life for all, a smart initiative in Kenya is bringing light to millions of residents in rural communities.

MwangaBora, which translates to “good light” in Swahili, is the product of Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (SDFA–Kenya), a social enterprise founded by Kenyan engineer Evans Wadongo.

The solar lantern, made from recycled materials, which are easily available within the community, is more than just a light; it’s a system, and it works like this: First a poor community with limited access to electricity is identified. This is then followed by a visit to the community by an engineer to design a solar lamp model that works with the locally available materials. With the help of local leaders, young people are identified and trained in making the lamps. Thereafter, the lamps are distributed among the community.

After receiving a solar lamp, families and community members are given a crash course on how the lamp works as well as how it should be maintained.

Furthermore, SDFA–Kenya gives community members training in micro enterprise development and financial management. Members are encouraged to save the money they were spending on candles and kerosene. After some time, the organisation tops up the savings from each household with a seed grant that community members are able to use to set up an income-generating venture of their choice.

The Mwangabora solar lamp was on display at Design Indaba Expo’s Africa is Now exhibition under the theme “Africa is Transformed”, which looked at how Africans have a make-do approach to materiality, transforming what’s at hand unto unexpected objects and designs that delight. 

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