May 8 - Rwandans without access to the country's power grid access a cheap, safe and clean lighting solution that makes use of a pedal-powered generator. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Pedalling to bring power to his village in Rwanda. Francois Nsegimana is working for lightmaker, Nuru Energy. Customers pay Francois to charge up the batteries for their LED lights on his pedal generator. (SOUNDBITE) (Kinyarwanda) NURU LIGHT SELLER, FRANCOIS NSENGIMANA, SAYING: "When I was selected to be among the people to sell these lights, I was first trained on how to use the machines, now I am doing serious business, many people are buying these lights because the price of kerosene is too high." One minute pedalling generates 400 minutes of light. Each of the lights costs around six U.S. dollars and to charge the batteries, it's 17 cents. The lights have brought more freedom to the villagers in Kayonza, which is just 60km from the capital, Kigali. (SOUNDBITE) (Kinyarwanda) VICTOR NIYIGENA, PUPIL SAYING: "Before I got this light I couldn't do my homework for more than 30 minutes at night, we had problems of Kerosene cost but now I can review my lessons for more than two hours at night and it helps me so much." (SOUNDBITE) (Kinyarwanda) VICTOR'S MOTHER, VESTINE MUKANDAHIRO, SAYING: "Before I used a Kerosene lamp to cook but it was so difficult because of the smoke and also the cost of kerosene, my children could not do their homework properly because kerosene is expensive but now it has become easier." Nuru Energy gives the generators and lights to traders like Francois and in return they sell the lamps The firm has projects in other countries like India but in Africa, Rwanda is the first country to use the pedal generators. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters