the WakaWaka Light and WakaWaka Power are true lifesavers for those without electricity
1.5 billion people around the world - a quarter of humanity - have no access to electricity, and hundreds of millions more face regular blackouts. The effects of this energy poverty are enormous. Lacking power and light severely reduces the quality of life. Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting, yet they are verry inefficient, dangerous and expensive, and have extensive health and environmental drawbacks.
Based in Haarlem, The Netherlands, WakaWaka ('Shine Bright' in Swahili) develops, manufactures and markets high-tech low-cost solar powered lamps and chargers that are indispensable products both in the developing world and in the West. Using the latest in patented solar technology developed by our parnter and market leader Intivation, the WakaWaka Light and WakaWaka Power are true lifesavers for those without electricity. Innovative and super efficient products for those that want the finest in technology and design, while 'enlightening' people at the base of the pyramid, making an end to the deadly kerosene-dependence of millions of families.
It has been found that replacing kerosene lamps with off-grid solar powered products saves money, results in better school grades for kids and increases income-generating capacity for families as a whole. Burn risk, unhealthy side effects and carbon-emissions are eliminated while the ability to charge mobile phones enables communication and entrepreneurship. Acces to local, sustainable energy is a fundamental human right - it empowers, it powers connectivity and it saves lives.
Story so far
WakaWaka’s story began in 2010, when future founders Maurits Groen and Camille van Gestel ran an active lobby to green the South Africa World Cup. Their design for an ultra-efficient LED lamp to replace millions of incandescent lamps won an international competition for emission-reduction ideas. VisitingSouth Africa one thing struck them very powerfully: namely, the number of South Africans who lived off the electricity grid and for which the wonderful invention was therefore useless.
Partnering up with Intivation - market leader in solar power management - a solution was developed: A sturdy, highly efficient, sustainable, solar-powered LED lamp, affordable for those living on $2 per day. After months of perfecting the design the first prototypes of the WakaWaka Light where soaking up sun. In January 2012 we crowdfunded the production in a very successful campaign, and six months later the world’s most efficient solar LED lamp hit the market with a bang.
The little lamp on a mission got a lot of publicity from around the world, and drew the attention of businesses and NGO’s alike. It swiftly got customers in every single African state and purchase inquiries from 96 countries around the world. Online ratings couldn’t have been more positive and independent research showed that indeed the WakaWaka Light was twice as efficient as any other solar lamp on the market. More importantly, it showed that the cross-subsidy sustainable business model was working, and had the potential to make a significant impact in the world.
Come 2013 and WakaWaka launched a new model – the WakaWaka Power – that combines the original lamp with the ability charge phones and other handheld devises while still providing hours of bright, safe light. Funding the production of this ‘most compact power station in the world’ was again done via crowdfunding. This ‘buy one, give one’ campaign raised more than $700,000 and at the same time provided 12,000 LED lamps to Haitian families without electricity. Before it has reached the markets we launched a similar donation campaign for conflict-hit Syrians refugees.
WakaWaka is an impact driven, social venture that fights to abolish energy poverty throughout the world. We are committed to our sustainable business model that makes the distribution of renewable energy-based lighting easy and cost-effective. In essence we operate as any other business, but proceeds made from selling WakaWaka products in the West at competitive prices, are used to make them available to off-grid communities around the world at a more affordable charge.
Social venture, sustainable enterprise, benefit corporation, there’s a lot of names for how WakaWaka works. Fact is that we believe that the combination of business and aid is the best way to generate positive impact. We have committed ourselves to harnessing the power of business for social good. Our whole team works for this cause and strongly believes that our buisness model is both the way that will allow us to have the biggest impact, and the future of development aid.
Offering solutions for the 1.5 billion people who live off-grid, our products help make families self-sufficient, sustainable and safe. Solutions that fulfill basic needs, that work properly and keep on working, solutions that are sustainable and affordable for families living on approx. $2/day.