Waka Waka Power

Waka Waka Power
by Caterina Lindman 
I’d like share with you the story of Waka Waka power.  Waka Waka is fun to say, and it means shining bright in Swahili.
Of the seven billion people in the world, there are 1.5 billion people who do not have access to electricity.  People need lighting, and without electricity, they often use kerosene lamps.  There are 670 million kerosene lamps in use world-wide.  There are problems associated with kerosene lamps.  Using a kerosene lamp gives off harmful fumes that is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day.  The fumes can lead to respiratory infections, the flu, and pneumonia.  There is also the risk of getting burned, often from the kerosene lamp tipping and causing a fire.  There are 15,000 serious burn injuries that happen each day from kerosene lamps.  The cost of kerosene for the lamps is approximately $5 per month.  For families that live on less than $2 per day, it is a sizeable expense.
So the question is, can we find a better alternative to kerosene lamps for lighting?  Electric light is a lot safer to use.  But there are costs for setting up an electrical grid, and simply following the path that has been taken by the developed world isn’t sustainable.
The people who founded Waka Waka Power are working on a better alternative, which is the Waka Waka power station.  It’s a lamp that runs on solar power, and can also recharge a cell phone.  Their goal is to develop a solar-powered lamp that people want to use and that can sell for about $10, so that it is affordable to the 1.5 billion people who don’t have access to electricity.  As everyone knows, any device that costs $10 but can save you $5 a month is an excellent return on investment.  And that’s not including the health and safety benefits!
Currently, the devices cost more to produce than $10.  You can help bring the cost of production down by buying one for yourself and donating one to a family in need.  Waka Waka has programs to buy one and donate one to a refugee family in Syria or in the Phillipines.  The first solar lamp model that has been developed costs $35 plus shipping for two lamps.  The second model has more advanced solar technology, and it has the added feature of a charger for your cell phone, and it costs $69 plus shipping for two lamps.  
This solar lamp can be used during power outages as a source of light and to keep a cell phone recharged.  I also use it for lighting early in the morning and at night, and as a light source when I am using my computer at home.  It’s a way for me to save electricity and to feel some connection with people that don’t have access to electricity.
I’m inspired by an enterprise that seeks to serve the poor, by developing a product that addresses their needs, is affordable and hopefully avoids the pitfalls of western development, which is the lack of sustainability.  It’s good on many levels – for a family’s health, safety, economically, and when it grows to a larger scale, it will have an impact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.  Kerosene lamps are responsible for 58% of global emissions from residential lighting.
To learn more or to buy and donate a waka waka solar power station, please visit: http://www.solarforphilippines.org/en or http://www.solarforsyria.org/en/
Last we heard, you can use promotion code 012448.