Give Me Gravity And I’ll Give You Light

While electricity can often seem like a given in the developed world, 1.3 billion people live without electricity and without the light it fuels. Unfortunately the alternative is kerosene, a dangerous, polluting, and weak source of light, which creates a high risk of fires and causes dangerous inflammation of eyes, skin and respiratory systems. Not only is kerosene unhealthy and unsafe, it is also expensive; among the poorest populations in Africa, it consumes up to 30% of household budgets. An Indiegogo campaign is currently fundraising for an innovative solution: the GravityLight.

The GravityLight works by using a pulley to generate light from the kinetic energy created by gravity. Instead of spending vast amounts of money on kerosene — consumers in Africa spend up to $17 billion annually — the GravityLight can be purchased at an affordable price and has no running costs. In addition to the financial savings, GravityLight works to break the fuel poverty cycle by increasing hours of productive work and education, improving health, and decreasing CO2 emissions. The idea behind GravityLight was developed in 2009 through a partnership between SolarAid, a UK charity working to eradicate kerosene lamps, and Therefore, a product design consulting firm. Designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves turned to Indiegogo crowdfunding to make their prototype a reality.

In 2013, a successful first round of Indiegogo fundraising led to global trials with over 1300 off-grid families. Now GravityLight has a second campaign, with a goal of $199,000, to launch the newly improved GL02 and establish an assembly line in Kenya. Local Kenyan production will help GravityLight magnify its impact by creating jobs, reducing its carbon footprint through proximity to one of its launch markets, and sparking collaboration with other impact-minded ‘Made in Africa’ organizations. Through this new campaign, GravityLight has the potential to deliver significant progress to off-grid families and communities. We hope you will join GravityLight’s many supporters (including Bill Gates) by backing their campaign.

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