The Mwezi Foundation has been exceptionally busy over the past six months. Here’s an update on everything that we’ve been up to!
1. Our New Solar Light Case
In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted education across the globe. In Kenya, schools were forced to close and pupil attendance was restricted for many months. Term dates and exam schedules were moved and modified, altering the school year.
The photo below was taken at St. Michael’s. The teachers at the school enforced social distancing by moving desks outside.
As schools closed down, it was impossible for the Mwezi Foundation to do its vital work. Consequently, we decided to use this time to redesign the cases of our solar lights. Our lights must withstand the rigours of Kenya’s equatorial climate, as well as years of use by busy, active children. It took nearly a year to design a new solar light case that would be long-lasting, practical, and as eco-friendly as possible. We are very happy to announce that we achieved this and that our new solar light cases arrived in Kenya last month!
In contrast to our previous cases (which were orange and circular), our new cases are square-shaped and transparent. The new design is simpler and consists of fewer components, which reduces the waste which we produce. The new design also has waterproof screws which fit with the previous internal structure, making it easy for our technical manager, John, to recycle broken lights.
2. Aiming for ‘Zero Waste’ and Building the Circular Economy
We are extremely proud of our repair and reissue statistics:
- In the September to November school term, we collected and replaced 208 solar lights. Of these, 25 could not be repaired and were broken down into their components (which we then recycled and reused). The other 183 lights were repaired and re-donated.
- In the January to March school term (which was the last term for the current Class 8), 175 broken lights were collected from schools. 10 of these were unfixable, whilst the remaining 165 lights were repaired and will be re-donated.
- This means that, in total, 383 broken lights were collected in and 348 were repaired.
These statistics signify almost zero waste, and show that we have been very focussed and successful in recycling and reusing components.
We are always striving to achieve zero waste, and our efforts over the last six months prove that we have made a significant step in the right direction. Over the next six months, we will work even harder to close the gap and achieve a circular economy.
3. The Mwezi Foundation Scholarship
In February, we launched the Mwezi Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship is for any pupil of a school who has been a beneficiary of a Mwezi solar light for a year or longer. The successful applicant will have their secondary school education funded at a national or county school.
We were inspired to establish this scholarship by the success of Happy Nazi Katsui, a former pupil at Kasidi Primary School. Happy was one of Kasidi’s top performing students, and she earned herself a place at Nyabururu Girls’ High School, a prestigious senior school. Unfortunately, Happy’s family could not afford the school fees, and Happy was unable to take up the place that she had won with her impressive exam results.
The Mwezi Foundation crowdfunded the funds that Happy needed to attend Nyabururu. Thanks to some very generous donations, it only took two days to raise the money that we needed to send Happy to school. She is now thriving at senior school, and you can learn more about her story here.
The Mwezi Foundation Scholarship is intended to help other talented pupils attend secondary school. The funding will cover school fees for the whole of the pupil’s secondary school education, and there will also be an optional allowance for initial school uniforms and travel expenses.
Applications for the scholarship closed on 24th March, and the successful candidate is yet to be announced. Watch this space!