More DW Blogs DW.COM


Thinking for a cooler world

Klaus Esterluß | Ideas

No tough stuff from “Tough Stuff”!

“Take a gap year and save the planet!” This could be the motto of the Kenyan based organisation “Ecofinder”. Founded in 1995 the Kenyan grass roots organisation helps communities around Lake Victoria to lead a more sustainable life. GLOBAL IDEAS has invited Nicolas, one of Ecofinder’s numerous volunteers, to write about his experience:

What do you need for a succesful small-scale solar lamp business?

There are two important things:

First: Highly motivated and convinced people who know that what they are doing will improve their lives and help to protect the environment. And second: Affordable solar lamps of good quality and longlivety.

Ecofinder started his solar lamp projects with 80 “Tough stuff” lamps. But unfortunately we had problems with faulty lamps after just three months. Our “Solar Lamp Entrepreneurs” could not rent as half as much lamps as before. Their business were in danger.

We changed the lamp trade mark. Our new lamps are from “Sun King”. The lamp’s quality is much better. They more or less rescued the project. It was possible to increase the number of solar lamps. At the moment 140 solar lamps from Ecofinder are used in areas around Kisumu nearby the Lake Victoria and the number is rising.

Because of the problems we had with the old lamps, we started buying lamp kits that have to be assambled. Organizing this is my task at the moment. We want to establish a Solar Lamp Workshop where employees learn to assemble the final lamp.

That would create more positive impacts on the community:
Not only we can offer affordable lamps, we would also offer new jobs for unemployed people. In conclusion it is possible to provide more and more people with solar lamps. Furthermore it would be obvious for everyone that eventually broken lamps could be fixed in the workshop.

I hope that my task, the workshop, will be reality in future.


October 22, 2012