News and updates from the continent

Little Sun: Rid Africa of kerosene lamp dangers

Little Sun: Rid Africa of kerosene lamp dangers

May 14, 2014

Bloomberg Philanthropies has confirmed its provision of a low-interest US$5-million loan to Little Sun, which will be used to help expand its reach to homes, schools and businesses across Africa. Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies Michael Bloomberg says the investment would help Little Sun to replace high-pollution and often dangerous kerosene lamps, while saving money and reducing health risks for consumers.

“Too many families are forced to breathe in toxic kerosene fumes because they don’t have access to electricity. Solar-powered lights can improve their health and at the same time, protect our environment by keeping pollutants out of the air they breathe. Little Sun is bringing clean, safe, affordable light to people who don’t have it today.”

Little Sun currently sells portable LED solar-powered lamps through entrepreneurs across Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi through local entrepreneurs. The lamps are offered at a price that will encourage uptake while still providing a profit to the entrepreneurs and retailers.

Designed by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, the LED lamps offer a three year battery life and are water resistant. With enough light to enable a student to study or a head of home to prepare a meal, the safety of these lamps is a key factor in areas where many have been injured by home fires and incidents involving kerosene and other flammable materials.

In a statement released to the media, Little Sun managing director and chief executive Felix Hallwachs said access to clean, safe and sustainable energy is “a fundamental human right”. “Today, seven out of 10 people lack access to even the most basic electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next 20 years, Africa is poised to hold the world’s largest un-electrified population. The impact investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies will help us reach our goal of providing clean energy to homes, schools and local businesses, replacing toxic kerosene lamps everywhere we work.”

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