A Kenyan chief based in Nakuru County has for long used his mobile phone to fight crime in his area, a testament to the extent of mobile penetration in Kenya.
A recent study conducted by Lighting up Africa, a local NGO, states that while only 20 per cent of Kenyans have access to grid or off-grid electricity, mobile subscriber penetration stands at 42 per cent.
The penetration of mobile phones in villages has resulted into high demand for portable solar lights that also offer mobile phone charging solution.
“Security in my location has improved because at least we share information with people on phone about something that can cause insecurity and avert it before it happens.
“Their phones are always charged because they use solar lights to charge them in their homes,” Chief Kariuki says.
He says solar lamps have helped people in his area fight insecurity as residents charge their phones from their homes using multipurpose solar lamp brands such as the Sun King lamps, distributed by the NGO.
The soft spoken chief also praised solar lamps for enhancing students to do their revision and home work without problem. “Solar lamps have helped students excel academically. You can imagine a scenario where a student who goes to day school is supposed to take examinations the following day but there is no light to help him or her carry out the revision,” he says.
Although the state has announced a reduction of power connection fees by Sh20,000, this is still out of the reach of most families considering that 46 per cent of Kenyans live below two dollars a day.
“The rural market is our primary target market, simply because our Sun King products are designed to meet the lighting and mobile charging needs of that demographic,” says Radhika Thakkar, VP Global innovations manager at Green Light Planet, a solar lamp company in Nairobi.