After the Green Design for Good portion of the program at Greener Gadgets 2009 I had a chance to corner Mark Bent, President & CEO of SunNight Solar so I could take a closer look at the solar-powered flashlights his company produces. They're really pretty cool, not just from a tech standpoint, but from what SunNight is doing in distributing them as substitutes for more polluting methods of lighting:Though you can buy these flashlights through SunNight's website for use closer to home (and have SunNight give on to one of its NGO partners), the greater impact of these lights comes from their use as replacement for kerosene lighting in the developing world, in refugee camps.
By using solar-powered lighting instead of kerosene, indoor air quality can be improved. The WHO estimates that 1.3 million women per year come down with lung cancer due to prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality resulting from kerosene lighting or burning biomass indoors.
SunNight also touts the benefits of these flashlights for women in refugee camps:
In refugee camps and in times of civil unrest, women and children are the most vulnerable. Our lights provide the ability to identify potential threats, aide in night time activities such as visiting the toilet and at dusk, when many women venture away from their villages for collection of firewood. Women are also the ones who are responsible for traveling to the nearest town or kerosene depot, most often on foot, which takes time, effort and energy, which could be better spent on more productive tasks.
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