Let your light shine on…
The NY Times ran a story on BoGoLight today [“Solar flashlight lets Africa’s sun deliver the luxury of light to the poorest villages“] . Solar-powered flashlights may sound excessive until you try buying decent batteries for your flashlight on a typical villager’s income. The BoGoLight project sells two of their lights for $25 – one to the purchaser and the other for a short list of secular and religious charities and US military missions. the BoGoLights are also sold in Whole Foods.
The NYT article immediately brought to mind other non-battery powered flashlights: the shake flashlight and the wind-up flashlight ($8 and up and $5 and up on Google Products). I found the wind-up flashlight available for 25,000 Ugandan shillings (US$14.70) last summer when a traveling salesperson brought them by the Mbarara University. Pricing still leaves these lights out of reach for many and the designs leave something to be desired if they are to serve as regular indoor lighting rather than handheld lanterns. Maybe carbon credits could help subsidize the cost?
There are numerous implications for health and health services: reduced indoor soot, fewer carbon emissions, improved nighttime health services, and many additional applications rich countries take for granted.
If anyone has information on product durability for solar, wind-up or shake flashlights, let us know.