Solar Sister and NextAid Showcase 5 Promising Technologies for Africa

Women Barefoot Solar Engineers photo

Solar Sister showcased just some of the efforts taking place around the world. Here, the Women Barefoot Solar Engineers of Mauritania install solar panels in their villages. They received training in Rajasthan, India.
Image: Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia via flickr

Walking into the futuristic Yotel near Times Square with a robot in the lobby for a coat check, you wouldn't expect to find a room full of some of the most promising, innovative technologies for sustainable development. But Solar Sister, which has created an environmental women-centered entrepreneurship model to eradicate poverty, and NextAid, an organization that uses music to support sustainable development projects in Africa, came together to bring these technologies to the public eye at their Illuminate event earlier this week. Solar-powered Lamps

d.light photo

Image: Global X via flickr

The Technology4Development Marketplace featured solar-powered lanterns from d.light—a technology we've seen before, but d.light is trying to drive costs down, and is already being distributed in at least 40 countries.

A Little Human Effort, A Lot of Water

KickStart photo

The Hip Pump is a human-powered water pump from Kickstart, an organization that understands what many in the aid world do not: "Poor people are not victims awaiting rescue." Kickstart's Mimi Evans said the pump helps people grow food and improves agricultural yields, but what it really is, in her eyes, is a tool people can use to rise out of poverty.

Play Soccer, Generate Light

sOccket photo

Among the alternatively-powered gadgets was also a power-generating one: the sOccket. Play with it for 30 minutes and you get three hours of light. The technology has already been featured on TreeHugger, but it's being improved all the time. Version 2.0, being launched today, will step up the capacity of power it can provide.

Solar Panels That Bend

Power Plastic photo

Power Plastic—flexible, organic solar panels—can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including the roof of a greenhouse. And they're actually working on a transparent version so that the panels can sit in a window or on a greenhouse and convert the sun's energy into electricity but at the same time, allow light to pass through to allow, for example, plants to grow.

Smart Tools for Maternal Health

Maternova Power Pak photo

Representing maternal health at the Solar Sister event, Maternova showed off its Power Pak, a midwife's training kit that features a solar-powered headlamp attached to a visor (since childbirth is often done in the dark, lit by a flashlight a midwife will often hold in her mouth) and a rotary cell phone charger. Maternova is also putting out other creative technologies to bring diagnostics to the reach of people in remote and resource-limited areas, such as color-coded hemoglobin level detectors and liquid crystal temperature indicators.

More on innovative technology and development:
What's Shaking in Africa? 8 Amazing Projects You Want to Know About
Cheapest Solar Lantern Aims to Displace Kerosene Lamps
High Efficiency Stove Models Come to Africa
Top Stories from Tonic: Green Power in Africa, Hydroponic Farming in Anguilla, Environmental Justice Competition, and More!

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