D.light, East Africa

In Machackos, we have a lot of power failures. Even though we are connected to the grid, it is unreliable—and expensive. I am a farmer and landlord of a few small houses in the area, and I am also a father of seven. When the power goes out, I used to use a kerosene lamp but it was very expensive because you needed to buy paraffin. It was also dirty and the smoke would soil the chimney, so you would have to clean it often. If you buy a torch, you also have to buy batteries. Those batteries can break and you will be charged for the repair. Life has been very expensive.

I decided to buy a d.light in 2013. It was my first solar light. With d.light, you just have to put the lantern outside in the morning. When the solar is full, you return it to the house and, in the evening, you have light. It is very reliable. You don’t lose any money. In fact, they are cheap. The first one I bought was only 2000 shillings ($20) and the other system was 8000 ($78), so I didn’t need to save up to buy it. There were other solar options out there, but they are not reliable like d.light.

My kids used to study with kerosene, but now they have changed their lifestyle. Before, if my children wanted to study at night, they couldn’t put the lamp on the bed. A d.light you can set anywhere. You can be comfortable. We now have enough power to light three bulbs, one in the sitting room, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. I need another one for the corridor. I also hope d.light creates a device that can connect to the TV. I have a TV but, when the power goes out, it doesn’t work.

We still have power failures, but I don’t feel them anymore myself. Because when the power goes out, I just switch on the d.light and I am OK.

It will give you light for 15 hours. The other one I have will give you light for seven to nine hours. My neighbors ask me “How come your house has light, and we don’t have light?” I told them about d.light, so now I am marketing for them! It’s important to bring these new technologies to Kenya because many people can’t afford electricity.

When my older children came home from college and saw the d.light, everybody wanted one. I was forced to buy one for them all! It is a very great improvement for the next generation. Because we live in a development country, we have to get new ideas and technologies like d.light.

Frederick, 63, is a father of seven and a customer of Acumen investee, d.light

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