Donate to NURU of the Unreasonable Institute to help Rwanda have Electricity

February 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

This was brought to my attention by Sloan Holzman, a young man that I knew when he was back in high school in Westport, CT. Now he is in Rwanda helping w causes to help the people, their children and their environment. Please donate to his cause which I find very worthwhile. They are a social enterprise that provides an affordable and kerosene-free lighting system for the world’s most poverty stricken.

Rwanda is home to almost ten million people. Over 95% of these people have no access to electricity, including 98.6% of the rural population. Their average spending on kerosene represents over 1/3 of their income. Kerosene fumes cause a variety of respiratory ailments, especially in children, and it emits large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, it is also responsible for 25% of household-fire accidents each year.

NURU Rwanda was established in May 2009. The NURU light system was co-created with the Rwandese consumer in Gihembe village. Together we developed a system that effectively address the rural lighting problem in 5 ways: 1. Affordable – At less than $7, it is 95% cheaper than kerosene and much more affordable than a $20-$100 solar lantern. 2. Good for health – There is no kerosene to burn. Therefore, the POD emits no harmful fumes. Instead, the light can be recharged off-grid, either using the world’s first commercially available pedal generator, the POWERCycle or an external solar panel, the POWERSolar. 3. Good for the environment – LED technology is carbon neutral. 4. Safe – There is no risk of fire. 5. Provides enough light for basic tasks and room lighting – Each POD is many times brighter than the light produced by a typical kerosene lantern and can be used as an individual light source for task lighting.

NURU has set up offices in Rwanda and Kenya and by end of March we will have established over 80 micro-franchises and sold over 11.000 NURU lights. We are currently screening and selecting entrepreneurs from local cooperatives to operate their own micro-franchises. Located in the customers’ communities, each micro-franchise operator (‘entrepreneur’) will sell lights and then charge the customers a small fee to recharge the lights using the POWERCycle pedal generator. Each entrepreneur can earn up to $13.50 per day. Such an income launches an entrepreneur comfortably out of poverty, giving them 3-4 times the national average income, while still saving customers 95% on lighting.

In the next 5 years we plan to establish 5.000 micro-franchises in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This will translate into more than 1 million NURU lights sold impacting over 5 million people.

The Unreasonable Finalist Marketplace gives the world a chance to weigh in on which 25 social ventures from around the world will be selected to attend the Unreasonable Institute’s mentor-intensive, 10-week, summer incubation program. The 37 finalists profiled on this marketplace have been selected from an initial pool of 284 ventures from 45 countries and, from our perspective, are working on social ventures that future generation may one day recall as having changed the course of history. The first 25 of these 37 ventures to raise the $6,500 it costs to attend the Unreasonable Institute will be the ones selected to attend. And the decision rests in your hands!

Additionally it gives the world a chance to select these 25 high-impact social ventures, the Unreasonable Finalist Marketplace provides their finalists the chance to demonstrate their entrepreneurial mettle and to attend the Institute at no cost. By galvanizing hundreds of people around the world to provide them small amounts of sponsorship, finalists prove their ability to get others to believe in them, their team, and their venture and “crowd-source” the funds required to pay for their room and board, mentorship, training, and other program costs at the Unreasonable Institute.

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