At 19, Wadongo developed the first African designed and produced solar lamp.

Can you imagine walking over 20 kilometres five days a week just to attend school? Not only was that the day-the-day for Evans Wadongo but came nightfall, he only had a kerosene-based lamp to use while studying. Known for its side effects, kerosene can cause pollution and can even cause deadly fires.

Fortunately, Kenyan Wadongo didn’t experience any fires but unfortunately, he did experience eye-problems due to toxic fumes. Using the knowledge, he gained from school and his eye for engineering, he decided to create a solution for himself, and his community.

At 19, Wadongo developed the first African designed and produced solar lamp. Named MwangaBora, translated from Swahili as good light, more than 32,000 of these lamps have been distributed via his organisation, Use Solar, Save Lives. The organisation has also partnered with a women’s groups in a livelihood project and is currently training orphans on how to produce solar lamps at home, in Malawi; there, he’s partnered with the Jacaranda Foundation but is hoping to expand throughout Africa and not only in Malawi.

Due to his humble upbringings, he is openly sharing the knowledge of designing and producing solar lamps. For this reason, his community in Nairobi consider him a hero but the rest of the world does, too. Wadongo has received numerous titles and award, such as Forbes ‘30 Under 30’, CNN’s Top Ten Heroes, the Pan Commonwealth Youth Award, the African International Achievers Award, and more! He was even a finalist for the Humanitarian Hero award.

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