Light For All

SUMMARY: Reduce global CO2 emissions and light up rural households in developing countries by distributing an innovative and affordable lighting system to replace fuel-based lighting. The design and delivery model of Nuru Portable-on-demand (POD) lights, using human power to recharge, allows a greater reach and more immediate environmental impact than other lighting solutions.

PROBLEM SPACE: With inadequate lighting alternatives, two billion people worldwide routinely purchase and burn kerosene for light, emitting over 260 million tonnes of CO2 annually – using up to 40% of their income while exposing themselves to harmful fumes. Limited access to electricity/light remains a primary obstacle to improving health, education and poverty.

SOLUTION: With seed-funding from the World Bank Lighting Africa initiative, Sameer Hajee has jointly led Lights For Life International (LFL) and Nuru Design UK to design, field test and deliver a rural lighting system unlike any other– one that is affordable to the poorest, sustainable and replicable.

Co-developed and field-tested with villagers and local partners in Rwanda (UNDP Rwanda/Millennium Villages), the patented Nuru lighting system consists of portable, inexpensive ($6 USD) rechargeable LED lights, called POD lights. POD lights are used in various ways – individually for over 90% of rural household lighting needs or in combination (lantern, overhead track lighting) for more light.

POD lights can be recharged by solar panel or AC charger, but the primary recharging source is human power using the world’s first commercially available, locally-assembled, pedal generator – the Nuru POWERCycle. Gentle pedaling for 20 minutes using feet or hands (bicycle-style) can fully recharge up to 5 POD lights – each one lasting up to 37 hours (185 hours total)!

Field trials in Rwanda, Kenya and India successfully ended in September 2010 and we are now ready to scale and replicate our work throughout the developing world – focusing on Africa and South Asia to start.