In May 2008, Nuru Lights for Life represented Rwanda in the World Bank Lighting for Africa Competition. Sixteen countries around the world participated and Nuru Lights was selected overall winner.
With the World Bank’s support, they developed the pedal generator-- product made from scratch that charges Nuru pod lights in Rwanda’s rural households.
The pedal generator is the first of its kind and was co created and designed in Rural Rwanda; a first step towards serving the household lighting needs in areas off the grid.
According to Julio C. De Souza, the Managing Director of Nuru Lights for Life based in Kigali, “one and a half years of market research in Bugesera district, Maynge Sector as a pilot plan showed that the lighting needs of the people needed to be put into consideration if in order to achieve development.”
Since July 2008, they have worked towards addressing the rural lighting problem through providing affordable substantial lighting to the poorest and remotest areas in Rwanda.
The grey- green Light Emission Diodes (LED) has bulbs that never break and never have to be replaced. These lights are the fourth generation of various prototypes that were developed.
“It is easy to carry, durable, affordable, and simple to operate—simply co-created in Rwanda to meet the needs of the customers,” De Souza said.
This was after 10 entrepreneurs started training on January 26th, 2009 in basic accounting and marketing skills before they were equipped to sell 5,000 pod lights to their communities.
The lights have a high capacity internal rechargeable battery. And on full charge each pod produces enough light for one or two weeks (20 hours for 2 LEDs and 37 hours for 1 LED.
Nuru lights have been tested in Kenya, South Africa, Burundi, Canada, and Uganda.
De Souza said that each country was unique in its lighting needs. He said that in market survey in every country is done to find out the expenses involved in lighting that were unhealthy, before the lights were introduced.
“There has been an amazing reception. People are ready to adopt the light and are buying,” he said.
By the end of this year, 3000 more Nuru pod lights will be put on the market considering that the current stock is sold out.
Recently, Nuru for Lights competed in a bid to provide lighting across the country. The National Tender Board is yet to approve winner.
If they won the bid De Souza said that, “other 5 districts will be supplied with 8,000 nuru lights, but if we don’t win, we shall still go ahead with our vision as a social enterprise that is reaching out to the most number of people.”