Testing: Packaging focus groups in Kenya

The [kerosene] lamp emits smoke little by little and it fills the house and so it becomes a problem because children can have chest problems. Therefore it is not good. It does not have any advantage, just that one doesn’t have a choice that is why we use it… If I get something like this [GravityLight], I will not go back to using kerosene. This is because it cannot make someone sick, it will make one to have good health because it does not emit anything…
— Lawrence Gatimu Mbuthia

It’s been an intense few months for the team and critical deadlines met! We have a lot to update you on…

As injection moulding tools were being commissioned and life testing continued on components such as the motors and gears to map their performance over time, we were also designing GravityLight’s packaging and instruction guides.

In December, Caroline took the first SLA prototype along with these packaging and instruction guides out to Kenya to gather feedback from 40 men and women living with little, if any electricity around Nairobi county.

Supported by the brilliant market research team from Burn cookstoves and several local NGO’s, she met with women and men, in the slums of Dandora and Githogoro and more rural area of Gatanga.

4 focus groups were segmented by gender and income level, to see if there were any differences in the type of feedback as well as the level of understanding for the setup instructions and packaging.

The team shared mock-ups of packaging and instructions to get their feedback. Conscious that GravityLight will be shipped around the world – as well as Kenya – and that many people using GravityLight may not be literate, we’re keen to ensure these can be understood pictorially, before we add any text. To keep costs low, these instructions were also in black and white, to be printed on the inner box.

Through this process, we had some interesting feedback!

We discovered that the weight symbol and kg were understood by many and the ! triangle was a familiar road sign – people understood it was warning of a hazard.

English was widely spoken and learnt by those who went to school, and so, rather than relying only on diagrams, we also added instructions in English.

Here's how the instruction guide has evolved:

 Before feedback

Before feedback

 After feedback

After feedback

On the packaging design we had an image of how GravityLight might be used in a home.


With the main GravityLight unit hanging just above the stove, several people thought GravityLight powered a (rather fancy) cookstove, as well as light. So now we’ve lit the woman cooking with a SatLight, to avoid any confusion!

 Before feedback

Before feedback

 After feedback

After feedback

After gathering feedback on the packaging and setup instructions, we showed each focus group how GravityLight worked in reality.  One of the biggest challenges was finding a dark space in the middle of the day – creating makeshift shades and setting up in a shipping container - to show GravityLight to full effect!

Having demonstrated GravityLight to these groups, we interviewed several individuals to find out what they currently used for light, what they thought of GravityLight and whether they would us it at home - with some very encouraging feedback.

We’ll be sharing video highlights and translated feedback in our next update. In the meantime, here’s what Elizabeth Wakarendi from Gatanga said after seeing GravityLight in action:

[For light] We use that lamp that uses kerosene. It is very costly because you see I have children who use it for reading. Some of them they have to wake up at 2.00 am like the one in secondary school. You see all that requires kerosene and maybe they went to bed at 10:00 pm.
This [Gravity]Light, I see if one gets it, life will be easy because when you extend it to the sitting room, in the bedroom, anywhere life will be easy and it does not have any costs.
The life of my people will change because the money that I use to buy kerosene, you know I use about 50 shillings every day. So that money I can be able to save and buy something or do something for my children with that money… You are also able to stay up for long hours because you will not worry about the kerosene lamp going off because of little kerosene.
— Elizabeth Wakarendi