Sasakawa Prize Laureate (2009-10)

Nuru Design
70 Normandy Blvd
Toronto, Canada
Tel: (+1) 647 866 1934


Summary of Environmental Achievements

Lack of reliable energy and lighting affects over two billion people in the developing world and remains a primary obstacle to improving health, increasing literacy and education, and, ultimately, reducing poverty and hunger. Meanwhile, the equivalent of 260 million tonnes of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere yearly from burning kerosene and firewood, which millions of people around the world rely on for lighting.

Nuru Design brings clean and affordable lighting solutions to rural communities in Rwanda, Kenya and India with portable, rechargeable LED lights. Nuru means "light" in Swahili, and the lights can be recharged by solar panel or by human power using the world’s first commercially available pedal generator – the Nuru POWERCycle.

Gentle pedaling for 20 minutes using feet or hands (bicycle-style) can fully recharge up to five Nuru lights - each one lasting up to 37 hours (185 hours total). The lights allow children to study, home-based businesses (weaving, etc) to operate, and households to function after dark.

The project has been a runaway success, making a significant, immediate and long-lasting environmental impact. In Rwanda alone, Nuru is adding 40 entrepreneurs every quarter, meaning 10,000 households every financial quarter will switch from kerosene to Nuru lights.

Nuru entrepreneurs benefit from a significant increase in income as they earn in an hour what they previously earned in a day. The reduction in kerosene expenditures result in savings of up to US$8 per month per household which can be used to buy other necessities.

The Nuru Light project showcases the Green Economy at work at the grass roots level. The household savings and entrepreneurial framework gained from the implementation of projects such as Nuru Design offer a concrete example of the benefits created from the transition to a Green Economy.
Nuru Design plans to use the Sasakawa funding to scale up in Rwanda and to replicate their work in Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and India - expanding to 800 entrepreneurs who will deliver lighting to about 200,000 households.