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.


Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]


Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [Read More]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

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]