Monday, March 14, 2011

Lighting Up Kenya

Evans Wadongo is a 24 year old graduate in Electronic and Computer Engineering from Kenya. Wadongo, is giving his country's rural families a way to replace the smoky kerosene and firelight with solar power - and he's providing it for free. He designed a solar lamp which he calls ‘MwangaBora (Swahili for good light), as a way to address poor education, climate change, health and poverty in rural areas in Kenya. He later joined a non-profit organization, Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (SDFA-Kenya), at its formative stages.
When the group heard about his MwangaBora, it immediately committed to help, eventually bringing Wadongo on as a partner and chairman of the board. The group has helped reduce production costs to $20 per lantern (costs are covered by donations). Volunteers help build the lanterns and work with local government and women's groups to determine the communities most in need. A small percentage of the cost of each lamp goes toward the volunteers. The group buys excess pieces of solar paneling, cut from commercially sold panels, in bulk and in an outdoor metal shop, Wadongo and volunteers hammer scrap metal for the frame of the lantern. Wadongo estimates he's distributed around 10,000 lanterns.

Wadongo was the only African nomianted for CNN Heroes in 2010. If you want to see more African’s nominated for 2011, get voting the winner recives 25k for their cause.Want to get involved? Check out the Use Solar, Save Lives web site and see how to help.

Super Grannies

Thousands of grandmothers across South Africa are having to cope with the consequences of AIDS, at a time when they had hoped to retire and be cared for by their families. To support these families, a group of inspirational grandmothers from Khayelitsha formed, Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA), an organization that offers financial and psychological support to affected families. Their hard work, dedication, and perseverance has paid off as they are now receiving international recognition. A photo exhibition about the day in the life of these grannies will be installed in Cape Town in May 2011 and Washington DC. USA from July to September 2011. Acclaimed South African photojournalist Eric Miller has captured the struggle and spirit of 17 grandmothers in intimate portraits and vivid portrayals of their daily lives. The photographs will be combined with excerpts from the grandmothers’ life stories. These Supergrannies have won our hearts. We hope they will win yours, too.