Melbourne-based LED company Brightgreen has launched an innovative charity initiative to tackle the issue of light poverty in the off-grid areas of Kenya.

The Brightgreen Light Up Kenya Project is a solar-powered charity initiative that aims to ensure Kenyans in the impoverished rural areas of the country have access to high quality lighting.

The project will have Brightgreen donating a solar LED kit for every $2000 worth of purchase made through a Brightgreen retailer. The solar LED kit will include a solar panel, two bulbs, a power storage system and mobile phone charging dock. The $2000 amount is the average expenditure to light a home in Australia.

Following the purchase, the customer will be given an 8-digit code, which allows them to activate their very own solar LED kit in a home in Kenya. This code enables Brightgreen to track each kit individually, ensuring that it is deployed effectively and providing a means for customers to access information about the home that they have helped light up.

Kenya has been selected for the project because Brightgreen currently distributes high-quality LED lighting to Kenyan customers via their partner in Mombasa but these products rely on permanent access to electricity, which is something not available to 35 million or 80 per cent of the country’s inhabitants.

People residing in off-grid areas typically use paraffin lamps instead of electrical lighting. Paraffin lamps are expensive to fuel, costing up to 25% of a typical family income, and produce toxic fumes that are responsible for increasingly dangerous health and respiratory issues, leading to up to 12,000 deaths per year.

Each solar LED kit includes two low-energy LED bulbs to provide four hours of light each when fully charged; 3W solar panel - lightweight, ceiling-mountable or portable; universal phone charging dock; and replaceable battery power storage unit.

Brightgreen has partnered with the Nairobi based lighting provider Sunlite Solar to ensure the responsible distribution and management of each Light Up Kenya donation. Sunlite Solar is the brainchild of Derek Steel, a Kenyan with Australian roots who lived and studied for a decade in Perth before returning to his birthplace in Nairobi.

Brightgreen CEO and Head of Design David O’Driscoll explains that access to sustainable lighting is not only important for social and financial development, but also serves as the gateway to improved education and independent business endeavours, empowering off-grid Kenyan communities to build their own futures as well as a better quality of life.