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A Bright Future: the MwangaBora Lamp

May 2, 2013


Hundreds of millions of households in rural areas without electricity rely on the light provided by kerosene lanterns, but these also have an adverse affect on health and the environment. Between 7 -9% of the kerosene in wick lamps is converted into black carbon when burned, a major driver in climate change (right up there with CO2). People also inhale the smoke causing myriad health problems, among them respiratory issues and eye damage.

Evans Wadongo grew up in rural Kenya where much of his studying and work was done by the light of a kerosene lamp. He grew up seeing a disparity in education between those who had access to electricity and those who didn’t. When he was just 19 and studying at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, he designed an alternative to kerosene lamps: He engineered a solar-powered LED lamp, called the MwangaBora meaning “good light”.

Evans Wadongo is now the Chairman and Executive Director of Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (S.D.F.A-Kenya) where he continues his work under the initiative ‘Use Solar, Save Lives‘ to help promote the use of clean sources of energy in Kenya. He also heads the Just One Lamp organization, which he says aims to “directly impact at least five hundred thousand people by 2015 and raise a million people out of poverty by 2018.”


The lamps are now part of a display at a New York gallery, Friedman Benda, where sales are helping to raise awareness and money, and provide thousands of lamps to households in rural Africa. Innovation at its best.


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