Give a Child Life received $30,000 to provide 2,000 Mabati Bulbs, 500 solar lanterns and build a workshop of the solar installation team in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

Description of how the funds will be used: In one of the poorest, most dangerous areas in the world, where most children under the age of five literally live in the dark, GCL works with the community to bring food, education and light to the children of Nairobi. GCL seeks funds to install 2000 Mabati solar lights and 500 solar lanterns in Nairobi’s poorest homes and schools and in Massai settlements nearby.  Funds will be used to access recycled materials, hire and train local staff, and build workshops for solar installation teams.

Description of Project/Program, what makes it compelling, and the specific needs it will address: Slum life is extremely difficult. Weekly incomes average about $10. Hunger is rampant. In a recent GCL survey, 92% of those surveyed said their children were hungry, and 26% had lost at least one child to a preventable disease. Families live in small rooms with no windows. Electricity is unavailable, and other sources of light too expensive. Bugs and rodents are everywhere and germs flourish, especially TB. It’s hard to work, dress or even look into your child’s eyes. Children under five suffer the most, their critical developmental years often spent in the dark. Since 2014, GCL has installed 3900 Mabati Bulbs – zero-carbon solar lights made from recycled 2-liter plastic bottles filled with water and a bit of bleach. Glued into a hole cut in the roof, the bottle’s water refracts the sun’s rays into the dark room below, emitting bright light equal to a 55-watt bulb all day. This project will provide 2000 Mabati bulbs for daytime lighting in Kibera and Karogocho, two of Kenya’s largest slums, where thousands live in darkness in mud huts; fund 500 solar lanterns, to replace dangerous paraffin lights at night; and build a workshop for the solar installation team.


Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards-

High Impact & Life Transforming: The goal is to transform the lives of 3000 children under the age of five. The impact of solar light installations is evidenced by pre/post surveys: 98% of recipients surveyed reported that the lights dramatically improved both their and their children’s ability to see faces, read, and find things.  They also reported significant improvements in home sanitation, nutrition, money saved (no paraffin), and children’s health and learning ability.

Parents reported the biggest benefit was that children could see to read and study. The percentage of children studying at home every day increased from 22% pre-light to 72% post-light.  In the 14 schools receiving lights, teachers reported that students can now sit throughout the classroom and easily read the blackboard, engaging them more.

Community Building: In GCL communities, village elders and community leaders are the links to families in need. They identify those in crisis, help design programs, deliver services, and monitor effectiveness.

Sustainability: GCL has built and sustained a small, highly efficient organization since its inception in 2006. 90% of funds go directly to services for children and families. GCL is excellent at doing a lot with a small budget. GSL’s director and board members are all volunteers. Only GCL’s locally-born project manager and staff are paid employees, which keeps administrative costs low. Many of GCL’s programs are self-sustaining, using locally-sourced recycled materials.

Innovative: Innovation has become the hallmark of GCL, having launched several programs that utilize low cost, locally accessible, and recycled materials to provide services to target communities, including an active Door Step Garden Program and a tortilla factory in the planning stage.

Measurable: GCL has a robust measurement system.  Every family they serve is required to participate in a twice-yearly family home environment and health assessment.  Additionally, local project managers administer at least two one-on-one surveys with family members per year to assess needs and program effectiveness.

Organization’s Mission Statement: To help save the poorest children in the world at the time when it matters most, age five and under.