Press Releases


D.light: Two Million Lives Impacted!

This post originally appeared on the D.light blog — Let there D.light! — on November 15, 2010.

But what does two million actually mean?

Today we made a big announcement: As of this month, d.light has officially impacted two million people in over 40 countries around the world! This comes only eight months after we hit the one million mark, and at the rate we’re growing, three million is just around the corner. We are extremely proud of this achievement, and I am grateful for all the support that has allowed us to get here.

Two million is a big number, so I asked members of our team to crunch some data to give us context for what kind of impact we’re talking about here. The numbers they came up with are, to say the least, very encouraging.

Two million lives impacted by d.light means:

Healthier, Safer Homes

  • Hundreds of thousands of households with reduced indoor air pollution, and reduced risk of developing respiratory infections
  • At least 34,483 burns from kerosene fire prevented (Source: Footprint Network)
  • At least 800 lives saved from deadly kerosene or candle fires (Source: WTO)

Improved Educational Outcomes for Children

  • 400,000 or more children have upgraded to solar lighting for studying, which means that they are studying at least 1-4 hours more per night. That is a lot more tests passed, homework assignments completed, and books read! (Source: d.light field research)
  • 400,000 is 18 times the number of students attending Harvard University

Revolutionary Change in Economic Circumstances

  • USD60 million in savings for families who are no longer reliant on kerosene (Source: d.light field research)
  • USD65 million in increased productivity – this is 12 times the 2009 profit of Grameen Bank! (Source: UNDP, d.light field research)
  • In total, this means an additional USD135 million in the pockets of poor rural families around the world, which can be put towards key expenditures like education, health care, transport, and communications.

Reduction in Global Carbon Emissions

  • 82,618 tons reduction in carbon emissions (Source: UNFCCC)
  • This is equivalent to the weight of more than eight Eiffel Towers, and the CO2 emitted by driving around the entire globe 9,283 times!

We started d.light to change the world, and the numbers above show how we are doing just that. But we know it’s only the beginning, and so we will continue working to bring life-changing solar solutions to all 1.6 billion people in the world without access to electricity.

Now on to the next million…

Sam Goldman is the Co-Founder and CEO of D.light Design.


Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]

No, not silence again!

The Acumen Fellowship’s Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) training is notorious for digging deep, breaking Fellows down to reveal their deepest fears, identifying the sources of resilience that will fuel them with the tenacity to continue along the path to social change. Kahabi G. Isangula is an East Africa Regional Fellow living in Tanzania and recently participated in our CLA training. Get an idea of what it is like, below!  [Read More]

Announcing the Class of 2015 Acumen Global Fellows

Acumen Global Fellows are architects for the impact sector. They are innovators, game changers, visionaries, with various professional experiences looking to make substantial change in the world. They have thrived in companies such as Google; they have started their own companies in Sri Lanka, Canada and Malaysia.  They are choosing the challenge of working alongside our portfolio companies and immersing themselves in a rigorous leadership training. [Read More]

Welcoming Ajit Mahadevan as Acumen India Country Director

We are pleased to announce that Ajit Mahadevan will be joining Acumen as India Country Director. Ajit joins Acumen from Ernst & Young, where he has served as Advisory Partner & Leader (Life Sciences) for the past six years.  At EY, he was a strategic advisor to the leadership of some of the leading Indian and global life science and healthcare players with the focus being business transformation and growth.  Prior to his time at E&Y, Ajit was President of Piramal Healthcare, one of the leading pharmaceuticals companies in India, where he built the international business from inception in 2002 to $300M by the end of 2008. Ajit held multiple leadership roles across strategy, M&A and business leadership. During his tenure at Accenture’s Strategic Services practice in UK and India, he led the development of one of the firm’s largest and most successful internal projects – the Offshore Development Centre in 2001, which has now grown to about 100,000 people across multiple cities in India. Ajit has worked in an advisory capacity to Acumen in the past, most recently participating in Regional Fellows selection panels in Mumbai. [Read More]

Why We All Need A ‘Rikki’

Caren Wakoli is an emerging leader in East Africa who has launched a foundation to support the next generation of female leaders for Africa. Caren applied twice for the fellowship and was not accepted, but she did not give up. Her resilience and grit allowed her to persevere, and this year we are proud to have her as an East Africa Fellow. Below she shares her story on why everyone needs a ‘Rikki,’ and failure is never final.  [Read More]

Acumen Joins Beyond the Grid as Founding Partner

Acumen is proud to be a founding partner of Beyond the Grid, an innovative framework under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative to increase energy access for underserved populations across sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond the Grid will leverage partnerships with investors and practitioners committing to invest over $1 billion into off-grid and small scale solutions for this underserved market. [Read More]

Life after Lean

In May 2013, Sabrina Natasha Premji & Afzal Habib participated in +Acumen’s inaugural Lean for Social Change course based on Lean Start-Up principles. Enrollment for the next session of the Lean for Social Change course is open now. If you are working on a social issue in your community, are interested in pursuing your own social venture, or are just interested in creating an impact in this world…Register today! Sabrina & Afzal joined the course with a simple idea and the passion to transform the childcare crisis in East Africa’s informal settlements. Seven weeks later, they had developed a customer-tested business model ready to pilot in Kenya’s densest slums. Read their story below. [Read More]