Introducing Luci: the solar powered lantern

Luci Lanterns

In this guest People and Planet blog, Charlie Andrews and Jill Van den Brule of MPOWERD, a recognised Screw Business As Usual company, introduce Luci - the solar powered lantern.

Our Model for Impact

Recognizing the broad consequences of living in energy poverty and the need for new business models, MPOWERD Inc has set out to upend the way we create solutions for the developing world. Our company is a pioneer in a growing group of businesses called Benefit Corporations, or B Corps, with a for-purposebusiness model, harnessing the power of business to do social good.

Our Vision

MPOWERD does good by doing well. Our dream is toend energy poverty through the development, manufacturing and provision of affordable lighting and power products. Nearly 1.6 billion people around the world lack access to electricity and another 1.5 billion have irregular access to the grid. This means that nearly half the worlds population lives in virtual darkness and relies on dangerous and costly sources of lighting such as kerosene lamps.

That's why we've spent nearly a year on research and development to createLuci, a clean, affordable, and sustainable solution to the energy poverty challenge. Luci is inflatable, incredibly lightweight and compact, waterproof, durable, and most importantly, she is affordable for the worlds poorest households.

The Luci Effect: MPOWERing Communities

Luci and Girl Power

One of Lucis largest impacts will be on the lives of women and girls who traditionally spend a disproportionate amount of time collecting fuel for traditional light sources. The provision of solar-powered light frees up this time, creating the opportunity for them to play a larger role in their families income-generating activities, giving them more autonomy over the familys resources. Additionally, solar-powered lighting increases the safety of young girls and women in slums and displaced persons camps where the incidence of rape and violent crime increases by over 50% in the absence of lighting.

Financial Savings

Luci directly contributes to the economic development of families and communities, enabling poor families, many who are already living on less than $1.25 per day and spend $10-$30 per month on kerosene, to save $100 to $300 per year. But the true promise of solar-powered lights as a solution to energy poverty lies in the opportunities they will create. Every hour of time saved translates into another hour spent on income-generating activities, with increased monetary resources to even start a new business.What better way to create a new generation of change makers!

Our hope is that the Luci lantern will help:

- Improve educationby enabling children to study.

- Protect the environmentby reducing the cutting of trees and CO2 emission

- Improve healthandquality of lifeby decreasing incidence of lung cancer, asthma, and pulmonary issues.

First and foremost, we know that poor communities don't need or want a handout; they want tools and resources that improve their capacity to lift themselves out of poverty. Luci is an answer. We have seen the faces of children, mothers and business-owners light up when they hold Luci in their hands. Our Buy One Give One partnerships also enable one light to go to a selected NGO partner for every Luci purchased.

Spread the word about energy poverty!

MPOWERD is a Virgin Unite Screw Business As Usual company, for others that are similar, check out Virgin Unite's website.

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