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Robust, longlasting and solving many problems at once *ToughStuff*

Its obvious in the Port au Prince refugee camps that there is an immediate gain from using one of these units. Light at night means more than education and socialization for many people it also means security. The ToughStuff solar lamps bring added security to displaced peoples daily lives. The effort is Haiti was aided by large NGO like ADRA, ToughStuff has a buy one fund one program as well as the business in a box program which can lift a family out of poverty as well as replenish a loan fund which is repaid.

Small scale solar has the potential to do more than simply save children from respiratory disorders due to indoor kerosene lamp use, more than lowering the risk of a dwelling fire considerably from the use of open flame for lights at night, more than simply provide the opportunity for people to read and study at night, more than help curtail global warming and bring money savings; the potential of the micro solar industry is also to extend the communications network by leapfrogging past electricity generation infrastructure issues and by creating a widely expanding "soft infrastructure" of people selling small amounts of power and access to phones and even eventually possibly a multitude of fabricated goods and possible information and education services.

I urge you; if you are here in the west and you enjoy summer camping or you can use one for emergency backup : consider investing in a buy one fund one toughstuff solar and lamp unit.

The ToughStuff people do not appear to have a blog or facebook presence yet. I was able to join their email list and I found a few recent press articles to promote, I intend to keep up with their actiivities and hope to hear more about these fascinating social entreprenuers.

Views: 32

Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 5, 2010 at 1:17pm
Thanks for sharing. I totally agree with your a****sment of solar power. Just as I was leaving my field site in 2008, people were purchasing solar panels for their homesteads through a program offered by the Mozamibican government. They were looking forward to having a light in their home at night, charging their cell phones, and listening to the radio. Community crime was not as big an issue, but there had been problems in the past with crime coming from outside the community. Light might help with that too.
Comment by John D. Boyden on March 6, 2010 at 8:32pm
I believe you are writing of the future, now. Small events are happening everywhere that are shaping the delivery system(s) of meeting basic needs that permit advancement, learning, free time for growth. +1 vision
Comment by Amos Meeks on March 7, 2010 at 4:04am
This is a very similar program. The problem with these it seems is the business modal. Tough Stuff uses the Buy one fund one model, which works but not on the large scale that a good business could achieve, and the one I linked to runs just off donations. I feel like there must be some sort of good, economically sustainable business model for this sort of thing.
Comment by cattavery on March 8, 2010 at 4:42am
yes I am also puzzled at how we make the leap from this sort of donation/fund issue. If its possible to make a little money from it then it is possible to have an enterprise. I think with solar its hard because you cant follow the rule (from the Cooper Hewitt "design for the other 90%") where you reduce the cost by reducing the volume of materials. With solar and electric in general its is hard to skimp on materials. A similar problem with the water rollers...they are expensive to manufacture and out of reach for those who need them most.
Comment by Amos Meeks on March 8, 2010 at 3:44pm
Another problem with all the solar powered stuff for developing countries is that Solar panels cannot be made locally. As far as I know they don't have the resources to make silicon panels that will generate electricity.

Water rollers on the other hand, while the big plastic ones can't be manufactured locally, I feel like it wouldn't be hard to make one out of metal and bicycle parts.
Comment by cattavery on March 9, 2010 at 1:05am
I love these mini wind turbines because you can set up shop locally to fabricate them, and they involve ubiquitous parts like bicycle gears and rebar. They seem pretty portable, and they could keep a phone and a radio and a small light going fairly easily although there were no stats on all of that.
Comment by Amos Meeks on March 9, 2010 at 11:47am
That is really cool Cattavery, although a total manufacturing cost of 100 dollars does not seem very practical for the developing world.
Comment by Agent H on March 22, 2010 at 7:10pm
Hi Cattavery, I am so glad that I found your posting about Tough Stuff. I posted info about a similar buy one/fund one solar light program which I tried out this week.
Comment by Jonathan Bamber on March 26, 2010 at 3:42pm
Hi, I am new to this site but as I work for ToughStuff and was present during the distribution of ToughStuff products in Haiti I can attest to the massive impact they have made on 8000 families living in makeshift homes or tents. Seeing someone replacing candles or a small dangerous open kerosene flame being used in a tent with a simple ToughStuff light was amazing. The difference from one evening to the next following the distribution was amazing. ToughStuff products are now selling across East Africa in large volumes at prices previously unimaginable. For $16.57 a family can buy a simple one watt panel and a tough LED lamp. We are doing this as a social enterprise and delivering opportunities for village entrepreneurs to build up a small energy business. Let me know if you want any more info. JOnathan
Comment by cattavery on March 27, 2010 at 1:53pm
Jonathan thanks do much for talking about your amazing work!
I really think the long term effect from this project will be profound. many issues are addressed all at once at a unique level of scale in this project: maternal and infant health immediately improve, there are greater opportunities for literacy, connectivity to services is facilitated also and I even think it helps people take on work at at home.


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