Simple Light Solutions for Homes with no Electricity

Stuart Fermor
Monday, 12th June 2017

The Sunny Night Light company are helping children in Gambia, providing simple, low cost LED lights for homes without electricity, so kids can study.

Currently many families in the Gambia have no electricity and when the sun goes down, they burn candles to provide light. This costs money of course, is not great for people’s health and most importantly, makes it hard if not impossible for children to study.

Keith and Sue Marshall set up their company Sunny Night Light to create low tech, low cost solutions to problems that affect children’s ability to better themselves in poor countries. They are also keen that anything they do come up with is sustainable and seen by local people as something they need and can do for themselves rather than be imposed on them as so much ‘helpful’ technology from the West tends to be.

Keith came up with a very simple LED light that runs on rechargeable batteries and can be assembled locally, being designed to fit in everything from half coconut shells to old plastic bottles and discarded tuna tins. Once up and running, the whole operation from assembly to recharging is in the hands of local people – totally independent of outside help.

Learn more at the Footsteps website that is hosting Keith's work:

A range of the lights on offer

Keith is trained as an engineer and has also used his knowledge of electronics to come up with a fantastic and innovative replacement for the clunky old projectors that are often hauled round villages to show educative films.

His version is highly portable and has a sound system to die for – which is a vast improvement on what’s usually on offer and allows much clearer communication to the audience. A local doctor has taken to it enthusiastically, able to see the opportunity he has to educate – and entertain – many of his poorest constituents. But that as they say, is another story!

Useful links

Watch: 50 Watts of natural lighting from a plastic bottle

Shedding light on LEDs

Making DIY solar panels for your off-grid home