Aidex Voices

GravityLight’s mission is to eliminate kerosene lamps and their damaging effects, by creating innovative solutions to empower those without electricity.

Light is something that many take for granted. But for the 1.1 billion people worldwide without access to electricity, it’s not all that simple. Many communities rely on kerosene lamps, which pose significant risks to health and safety, including provoking burns, accidental poisoning and starting fires – not to mention the harmful environmental impact they have.  

To tackle this issue, we have developed (and have been recently field testing) our new GravityLight design, which works by harnessing the fundamental force of gravity. Suspended from the ceiling, as the weight drops very slowly, it converts kinetic energy into light – making use of the earth’s own ever-present natural forces. 
In the Philippines for example, more than 800,000 households still rely on kerosene lamps as their main source of lighting, so we were eager to put our light solution to the test there. To test out our solution, we worked with the  MyShelter Foundation, an NGO in the Philippines focused on tackling energy poverty, who are conscious of the need for safe, off-the-grid and affordable lighting.  

We were thrilled with the excellent feedback and it was lovely to see the difference it has made to all the families we worked with. Zamboanga del Sur is a community entirely without electricity, where one resident told us about how, until now, he and his family had been living without electricity for over a decade, due to the high cost. The GravityLight lamp means that, in his own words, “we no longer grope in the dark and we can now enjoy talks with the family.”  

Garnering feedback from the field is crucial in enabling us to always improve and innovate. When we worked with Indian NGOs  Cheer and  Centre for Indian Knowledge systems, we were able to see GravityLight at work in Tamil Nadu. Fifteen families here put GravityLight through its paces, sharing their insights with us at every stage.  
One family had been relying on a small oil lamp perched on their fuse box because despite their house being wired, they had still not been connected up to the grid. GravityLight has meant that as well as saving on the cost of kerosene and increasing time spent with family and friends after dark, the family has also been able to avoid the eye irritations so often caused by the noxious fumes from kerosene lamps. 

The feedback we’ve had so far shows that the new and improved GravityLight can make a real difference to people’s lives. But there’s still work to be done. This is the reason we’re exhibiting at AidEx this year. We’re looking forward to meeting everyone from the global aid and development community and to building further partnerships to help people escape the poverty trap caused by reliance on kerosene lamps. Working together will be the key to achieving our joint goals with collaboration, learning, and understanding very much the order of the day.