Umeme Kwa Wote

Eco-friendly light for developing countries


At Lake Victoria in Kenya the Global Nature Fund (GNF) initiated a unique environmental project in cooperation with its Kenyan partner Osienala and the two German companies OSRAM and Solarworld. Several years ago, the German environmental foundation GNF started to find solutions for the replacement of kerosene lamps that are harmful to health and the environment used for night fishing with nature friendly solar lamps. The mineral oil used in the kerosene lamps consistently pollutes the lake and drinking water. Additionally, the fuel prices have doubled in the last three years and the fishermen can hardly sustain a livelihood for their families with the already low income. Most fishing villages have no connection to an electricity grid, therefore, a rechargeable solar energy saving lamp is an ideal solution. The demand is huge, with approximately 175,000 fishermen alone living at the shores of Lake Victoria. The technique is transferable to other regions in Africa and Asia and can also be used for lighting homes. “In developing countries where there are no investors for the installation of an electricity network, solar solutions may prepare the ground for a better future”, says Udo Gattenlöhner, Executive Director of Global Nature Fund during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya. He states that “solar lamps not only preserve the environment, but also provide new possibilities for education and income generation as well as prevent fire and smoke poisoning.”


The first solar energy station, called an OSRAM Energy Hub, is situated in the village Mbita. There people can recharge their batteries in an eco-friendly and money-saving way. Even after just a short time, the fishermen gain the benefits of the use of the solar lamps, because fuel costs used to burn more than half of their income. It is a huge advantage that fishermen do not need to buy the lamps but rent them for a nominal deposit of 15 Euro. The local environmental organisation Osienala offers micro credits in order to provide the money for the deposit.


Following a one year planning stage, the solar power service station was installed in a four month construction period. Three further OSRAM Energy Hubs in Kenya and Uganda will launch soon. The project lamps of OSRAM are rugged, water resistant and significantly cheaper to use than conventional kerosene lamps. The batteries can also be used for radios or recharging cell phones. The solar power station in the model project is combined with a drinking water purification system that uses energy peaks for water treatment. With this system, water related health problems such as diarrhoea and cholera can be reduced. UNICEF states that day by day 4,500 children die because they have to drink contaminated water.


About 30 million people at Lake Victoria , and more than 1.6 billion people worldwide, live without access to a permanent power supply. Using fossil fuel such as kerosene for power generation massively stresses the environment. Worldwide more than 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted every year. “Umeme kwa Wote” – Light for all – is the project’s slogan in Kenya showing innovative solutions that help people and nature. The project is part of the international Living Lakes Network, a lake partnership launched ten years ago by GNF and today comprising partners from more than 45 countries. The Living Lakes network successively and sustainably engages with local institutions in regions where lakes and wetlands encounter severe threats. The Living Lake’s projects are supported by international corporations such as Daimler, the German airline Lufthansa, Osram, Sika, T-Mobile, Unilever and Ziemann. 


The project is financially supported by WISIONS in the framework of the programme "Sustainable Energy Project Support SEPS". 


More Information

Global Nature Fund
Fritz–Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 80

Fax: +49 (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 88



More information about the project you find as motion picture for download here.

 A woman tries sardines.
 Kenyan fisherman with solar lamp.
 Storage of solar lamps and accumulators.
 In front of the readout of the lamps.

More projects at Lake Victoria

Drinking Water Treatment Plant

Project duration: 2008–2009


Renewable Energy for Fisher Folks

Project duration: 2004–2007

 Logo GNF
 Logo Osram
 Logo SolarWorld

Official Project Titel:




Project Duration:


Project Countries:




Project Partner:

UMEME KWA WOTE – Eco-friendly light for developing countries. Global Nature Fund supports worldwide unique solar project at Lake Victoria in Kenya


April 2008 – December 2010




Osram, Wisions