A Solar-Powered Lamppost Brings Light to Women's Collectives in Rural Africa

The Foroba Yelen, or Collective Light, is a solar-powered lamppost specifically designed for use in rural Mali.

After spending two years living in rural communities in Mali, Italian designer Matteo Ferroni created the "Foroba Yelen," or Collective Light, a solar-powered lamppost that can be moved around a community to illuminate a small area at night. Ferroni designed the light to help women's collectives work, study, and socialize.

In Mali, where nearly 90 percent of rural populations lack electricity, women often work at night using dangerous paraffin lights. Though solar lighting is spreading in Africa, it can be too expensive for individual families.

The Collective Light is designed to be manufactured locally. Ferroni studied local methods for building donkey carts, a common item in the area, and used similar techniques for the lampposts. He also chose easily accessible parts, for instance, a wheel was added to the design so the lamppost can easily be transported from place to place.

Dozens of the lampposts have been built so far. Watch one being manufactured, and used, below.

Image courtesy of eLand