Posts Tagged ‘Barefoot Power’

23 November

Stewart Craine, A Village Infrastructure Angel, Found His Adventure By Lighting Up The World With Solar Energy!


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Hope this post is finding you relaxed from  turkey feast and with room for left-over turkey sandwiches.  As for me, the more time I’ve spent on researching about Barefoot Power and its cofounder Stewart Craine, the more I am thankful for our access to electricity/power and hope that this solar development wizard Stewart did not only reach his original  goal of reaching 1 million people by 2010, building a solid and sustainable business that will provide not only solar lighting kits but also many other solar energy products available to many earthlings, but also finding time to take a breather for himself, for he certainly deserves it .

Today’s piece is long overdue due to interruption of Hurricane Sandy, US Presidential election, and some hardware difficulty in uploading the video associated with this particular interview.  As much occurrence in life, one can always look for the silver lining in any event.  In this case, the silver lining is that I had more time in doing background search associated with Mr. Stewart Craine,  cofounder of Barefoot Power of Australia.

Did you know that over US $10 billion (some say over 17 billion) is spent each year on kerosene for lighting homes in developing countries? (please see Lighting Africaand Lumina Project )  The light cast from a kerosene lamp is poorly distributed, difficult for children to study; its open flame, smoke, and soot from kerosene lights endanger lives by reducing indoor air quality and increasing the likelihood of fire.

The negative impacts of using kerosene lighting as a result of energy poverty, listed below, are sobering:
*The World Health Organization (WHO) reported-over 300,000 deaths each year from burns, vast majority of these occur in low and middle income countries.
*Nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year.
*More children die from fire related injuries than fatalities from tuberculosis or malaria.
*The poor, mostly women and children, consume the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes of smoke from indoor air pollution, resulting in chronic respiratory and eye diseases.
*The United Nations Development Program and the WHO reported 1.6 million deaths per year (one life lost per 20 second) in developing countries caused by the indoor air pollution due to traditional fuel source. Below, you will find a clip of the interview with Stewart Craine:

What Mr. Stewart  Craine and his team had done is to help people getting onto the ladder out of energy poverty through the use of affordable solar lighting and phone charging to low-income population without access to electricity.  After graduating from UOW (University of Wollongong) with double degrees in civil engineering and mathematics,  driven by the desire to seek adventure rather than security or boredom, Stewart chose to work with AVO (Australian Volunteers Overseas/International), leading to two year stint working on renewable energy projects  in Western Nepal.  This apparently ignited his passion for international development and a desire to find a more effective model than the aid model.  Realizing that he could not volunteer forever, he went to work for Hydro Tasmania, where he and his colleague Harry Andrews collaboratively found the solution for Stewart’s career path of more effective model of international development by establishing Bathurst-based Barefoot Power in 2005.  Barefoot Power is a development for-profit company aiming to fight poverty and climate change in developing countries by distributing household solar lighting equipment and off-grid power solutions to the poor population currently using kerosene and other environmentally harmful energy sources.  Selling solar kits employing LED technology to provide cheap, safe, and efficient power to  impoverished families in the developing countries was not only a worthwhile thing to do, it can be a sustainable business.    In 2010 Barefoot Power won product awards in all tested categories for off-grid lighting products in a competition at an international conference( (organised by the Lighting Africa program of the IFC (International Finance Corporation) which is part of the World Bank Group)  held in Nairobi, Kenya.  This caught the attention of  EIB (European Investment Bank), enabling Barefoot Power to sign an agreement with EIB such that the EIB provided a grant of up to EUR 1 million in the form of a Management Technical Support Facility of the European Community in connection with the GEEREF (Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, ).  Prior to the grant (first segment was made available to Barefoot Power in August of 2010), CO2 emission reductions from Barefoot Power’s products were 5,000 tons per year,  and the impact has increased to 30,000 tons per year by the end of the grant in late 2011.  Such CO2 emission reduction is expected to double each year thereafter.  Subsequently, Barefoot Power had received global recognition including an award from G20 and support of entrepreneurial superstar Richard Branson.

My interest in writing this piece did not  stem from the fact that Stewart and I both had received  degrees in mathematics and civil engineering,  but stemmed from our connection to Kiva ( a micro-finance institution  helping entrepreneurs in USA and various developing countries): my connection with the Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva ( w/interest  in helping small businesses in solar energy/renewable energy/energy efficiency/recycling), urging Kiva to expand in the area of Green and Solar loans, and helping to raise the money for Kiva’s first solar loan through Barefoot Power.  It was quite a thrilling experience to have seen over 1000 Kiva lenders (1034  to be exact) gathering cooperatively across the globe to help light up Tanzania through distributor Martin of Barefoot Power.  (Stewart also assured me that The Grace Foundation had much to do with Martin’s loan being a success). Certainly, we (Sunisthefuture Team and many other teams at Kiva) are all looking forward to more opportunities in helping to light up our planet earth via the clean and efficient solar lighting/kits.  So, Stewart, whether your solar kits will be in Africa, Pacific, or any where else, we just want you to remember that  there will be thousands and thousands of us earthlings, ready to collaborate with you in your effort in lighting up the world. Mr. Craine is now broadening his horizon, developing , by expanding his solar product line to more than just the solar lighting kits. We wish him much success for there is plenty of sunshine in Africa, waiting to be tapped.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments/suggestions/questions/concerns will be welcomed at

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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18 May

First Big Solar Loan At Kiva-Micro Solar Lighting Kits at Tanzania-Watu na Nuru (Light for the People)


Dear Readers,

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If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.


Dear Friends & Readers of Sun Is The Future,

Last I checked, you come from 144 countries on this planet earth.  Some of you have wanted to make donations to Sun Is The Future ( But at the moment, since its non-profit status had not yet been officially established, I would recommend that any one who wants to take part in contributing to the earthly transition/movement toward solar energy to become a lender at Kiva (it can start from as little as $25. If you are a new Kiva lender, you can take advantage of the free trial use of free $25 to join Kiva and Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva) by specifically gearing toward the largest Solar Loan EVER at Kiva: Loan 426323 from Tanzania by Martin. But keep in mind that this is not for charity but for lending to small entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Martin needs our help to complete funding this loan. Let’s give him a hand!

Many of you may have been aware of the posts I’ve written not only about solar energy, but also about Kiva, the microfinance online institution ( intended to help small entrepreneurs from all over our globe to succeed in establishing small businesses.  Therefore, it is my greatest pleasure to be given the opportunity in being a catalytic component in the marriage between the two (Kiva & Solar Energy).  I’ve become a member of Kiva for a while and even started the Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva (, but this is the first month that the biggest solar business loan ($49,525) EVER at Kiva appeared. In Tanzania, 5 out of 6 people have no access to electricity. People often rely on potentially harmful fuels to light their homes.   Martin works with Barefoot Power in Tanzania to help low income families to break their dependency on harmful, expensive, and inefficient light sources by offering them safer, cheaper, cleaner, options through solar lighting kits.  This is a loan from Tanzania for Martin to buy stock of micro-solar lighting kits from Barefoot Power.  I invite you all to take a look at what this Kiva  loan 426323 of Martin is about:

Martin works for Watu na Nuru, a Barefoot Power distributor in Tanzania. This is his story, below, in his own words:

I have been working in Tanzania with my wife for two years now, and we have been using our previous experiences to help in the development of education and business. We have left two grown-up children to their own careers in the UK. One of the first things that struck me was the limited use of solar power for a country with such a huge amount of sunshine. This was particularly noticeable coming from the UK! When we saw that people were using homemade kerosene lamps at night we felt there had to be an opportunity to make solar lights more widely available. A large part of my work for the Anglican Church was starting a wholesale business to import and distribute solar lights to micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to sell them in villages. Over 80% of Tanzanians have no access to mains electricity and they use dangerous, unhealthy and costly kerosene lamps as their main source of lighting, so there is a huge market for affordable, quality micro-solar kits. Watu na Nuru, which means “Light for the People” in Swahili, is the name of a growing collection of businesses established with the support of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, with the aim of making high-quality, affordable solar lighting kits available to rural communities.

Watu na Nuru needs to have sufficient quantities of the right products at the best time of year (when farmers bring in their harvest). We need funds to ensure product is available when people are ready to buy it. When we are not selling product we provide training and technical support to retailers. We have developed a partnership with Barefoot Power Australia, who make what we believe are the best micro-solar systems on the market. My greatest challenge in this role is to get the right quantity of stock and spares to support the growing business. Your loan will support our stock so that more village entrepreneurs can sell these lighting solutions. My favourite part of this job is seeing a first order of product heading off for a distant part of the country to one of our small retailers just starting a new business.

If you should be interested in helping Martin in lighting Tanzania or helping various entrepreneurs throughout our planet earth (including USA) to become self-sufficient while spreading solar energy use, please feel free to use the free trial $25 at Kiva (remember Kiva is not a charity organization, so you will get the $25 back and can relend it to other entrepreneurs. remember Martin’s loan is 426323) by visiting:

You are also welcome to join us on the Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva !

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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