Where the WakaWaka Story Started
The problem of energy poverty is huge. There are over 1.5 billion people on the planet living in darkness every day, and millions who use dangerous kerosene lamps and other unsafe means of bringing light to the darkness. Founded on their interests in environmental and development issues and driven by their passion for renewable energy technologies, WakaWaka founders Maurits Groen and Camille van Gestel collaborated to create the world’s best solar LED lamp through Off-Grid Solutions to give consumers an amazing solar lamp and to end the dependance on kerosene.
Why Conventional Aid Does More Harm than Good
We can no longer cling to the belief that bilateral and multilateral aid is beneficial for the poorest countries in the world. The tragedy is that these types of aid have actually stagnated and worsened the economies of those living at the bottom of the pyramid.
Certainly humanitarian aid is beneficial and imperative in times of disaster, such as following an earthquake or tsunami. But research consistently shows that ongoing bilateral and multilateral aid offered by wealthy countries to poor countries has devastated the receiving nations. We must adopt a new, more sustainable model for impacting those living on less than $2/day in the midst of severe energy poverty.
The Powerful Combination of Technology and a Sustainable Business Model
The reality is that those living with extreme poverty want the opportunity to participate in the growth of their own economies. In fact, when given the chance to take ownership of their situation and come up with solutions that fit their needs, the poor are much better equipped to solve their own problems and raise themselves out of poverty. All they require is a hand up.
OGS U.S. has developed a unique and incredibly powerful program that combines outstanding solar light technology with a sustainable economic model. Making a life-transforming technology affordable to empower women, youth, and communities has been the cornerstone of the WakaWaka Model from the very beginning.
Using a multi-pronged approach and a collaborative concept that includes western consumers, NGOs, and entrepreneurs in developing countries, WakaWaka has created an incredibly powerful economic ecosystem to empower the poor to solve extreme economic and energy poverty.
The result of this sustainable economic activity is that individuals, families, and entire communities become economically empowered to make changes where they live. What’s more, using the WakaWaka products at home means they no longer rely on the unsafe, dangerous kerosene lights to which they’re accustomed. And of course, western consumers get the satisfaction of knowing that their purchase of an amazing solar lighting product from WakaWaka has benefits those living with extreme poverty.
Already WakaWaka has seen that their model can fund thousands of households through the creation of this sustainable ecosystem. What’s more is that the revolving nature of the micro-loan fund provided by the WakaWaka Foundation means the program can ultimately help create hundreds of thousands of small, sustainable enterprises around the world over the life of the fund. The potential for transformation through this type of program is truly enormous.
With a focus on creating a sustainable economic ecosystem, WakaWaka’s goal is to end energy poverty … not through hand-outs, but by offering a hand up. We hope you’ll join us.