The Mwezi Light: Illuminating New Job Opportunities In Africa

Ever heard that phrase, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”? Many people are concerned about those in developing countries, who often live without access to simple things, like electricity and clean water, that we take for granted.

We’ve featured lots of gadget meant to bring free, renewable energy to other countries, but most of them are akin to giving the man a fish. The Mwezi Light, a new project currently gathering funding on Kickstarter, is different because it’s meant to create much-needed jobs in addition to safe, reliable light.

mwezi light

Image via Mwezi.org/Kickstarter

As you may already know, those in rural Africa usually rely on kerosene as a light source and cooking fuel. Using kerosene indoors is extremely dangerous, and produces toxic emissions that lead to health and environmental problems.

According to its creator Mike Sherry, “Mwezi is a problem solving product that will have a life enhancing impact on the poor and vulnerable.” Designed in the UK but meant to be assembled in Africa, Mwezi has the potential to create jobs and save lives by replacing kerosene lamps. It’s a unique approach solving both micro and macro level problems with a scalable and sustainable solution.

Like many of the solar lamps we’ve featured in the past, Mwezi uses a compact solar panel to gather the energy that powers two Cree XLamp XP-C LEDs. It produces light a for different intensity levels, so that the user can conserve power when necessary. The included NiMN batteries would deliver 100 percent brightness for 9 hours of use, or 80 hours of use on the nightlight setting. Based on testing in the UK sun for 4 hours (on a relatively clear day with intermittent clouds) the prototype produced 5 hours of light at 100 percent output.

“We have created a working prototype and now want to raise enough money to produce the final injection mouldings and complete the first full production run for our Kickstarter supporters,” says Sherry. “In the future we will start assembling the lights in Kenya.”

Want to support this project and get your very own Mwezi light? Check out the Kickstarter here.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog