Our Trip to Kenya: Part 2 - Follow up visit Halima Mumba

Halima in her bedroom where she has installed one of the SatLights.

A little over two weeks ago, Caroline returned to Kenya to connect with several organisations that are trialling samples of GravityLight with sales agents and off-grid families. This weekly blog will provide you with the latest updates on the trip.

Since the last update, Caroline has been busy gathering feedback from the off-grid families that have been set up with GravityLight, gaining valuable insights on their experiences with using it. Last weekend we revisited Halima Mumba, with The Haller Foundation, to find out how she, her husband and two children were getting on with their GravityLight.

Halima Mumba’s home consists of wooden beam structures with mud walls and a corrugated iron roof. The three rooms are partitioned with materials like fabric and corrugated iron. As you can see in the photographs, the GravityLight has been attached to a beam close to the ceiling, giving the unit ample space to complete the maximum 'bag drop' available (click here for more information on how the GravityLight works). 

Halima's lifting the weight, powering GravityLight

Halima's neighbour testing out GravityLight too.

Halima has also made full use of the extendable nature of the plug in SatLights, installing one of them in the bedroom to create a light point in there

Halima told us that since installing GravityLight in her home, her family had completely stopped using a kerosene lamp. Several of Halima’s neighbours had even brought their children along to do their homework over the course of the previous week!

Both Halima's family and neighbours have gathered to talk about GravityLight

Whilst Halima's feedback is encouraging, it is important to understand the level of use and the extent to which GravityLight can replace kerosene over the longer term. Amongst other things, it is important to determine the financial viability of GravityLight for these communities.

Families in Halima's situation typically do not have a regular stream of income; they grow vegetables for their own subsistence, and when the harvest is good, they sell them too. The Haller Foundation (mentioned in part 1 of our Kenya blog) advises families on the best sustainable, high yield agricultural techniques to help them make most of their plots of land. To help us monitor the long-term effects of using a GravityLight, The Haller Foundation’s extension workers will be following up with regular visits, supplemented with mobile surveys.

The lush green valley Halima and her family live in

In the photos below, James, who was part of the Haller team helping to run the GravityLight home trials, is demonstrating GravityLight to a group of local children. Over the course of the session, the children were encouraged to use the device and ask questions about how it works, many of them demanded to opening up the bag to show it really was just rocks inside! 

James explaining how GravityLight works

Children gathered next to the GravityLight

The teenage girls in pink had to leave to go back to school for the afternoon, but were keen to know how their families could buy a GravityLight too. Word of mouth is very important to us as it helps spread our message throughout different communities. 

In our blogs over the next few weeks we'll be sharing more about what we've learnt on the best ways to distribute GravityLight and more feedback from people trialling these GravityLight samples.