Siemens Stiftung: project with the largest social impact? Vote now!

Siemens Stiftung: project with the largest social impact? Vote now!

When you like technical solutions that make a big impact in the developing world, this is something to have a look at..

Siemens Stiftung foundation selected 23 companies working on innovations in the field of solar energy, education, transportation, medical an more.

The “’empowering people.Network” is an initiative of the Siemens Stiftung foundation. It aims to make simple, technical solutions accessible on the basis of sustainable entrepreneurship models.

Who founded the Siemens Stiftung foundation?

Siemens Stiftung has been established to act as trustee for the Nowak-Stiftung family, with the purpose of providing development aid and support to impoverished families. The aim of the foundation is to improve basic services in Africa by stimulating simple and effective technical solutions and education activities.

23 promising finalists

This year over 880 entries (!) were made, and 23 promising finalists were shortlisted. Amongst those 23 finalists there are some very interesting products and solutions.

Some of my personal favorites..

Solar technology solutions are amongst the finalists. These are my 2 personal favorites.

Library for All

A lot of children in developing countries have limited access to educational materials. And when they have, it’s often outdated.
Library For All (LFA) aims at unlocking knowledge and opportunities for these children. These do this by giving kids access to a cloud-based library of e-books.This cloud obviously can be filled with any type of educational content. Currently their digital library is filled with primary and secondary books that are culturally relevant and available in local and international languages.

Library for All

Siemens Stiftung finalist – Library For All

Three points make this concept attractive:

  1. the platform is specifically designed for a low-bandwidth environment (these people can’t stream videos yet..)
  2. Library For All does not provide the hardware: their platform works with all existing, low cost phones and tablets on the market. This way Library For All is inexpensive and highly scalable.
  3. This model works because mobile networks are growing tremendously fast in developing countries.

And the cost? 3 USD per user per year

For a child to have access to education.. That’s close to nothing..

A low cost tablet or mobile phone for every child in the developing world with access to a cloud based educational library? I’m all for this.

io™ solar power system

Access to a reliable source of electricity to power lights and other appliances is still a problem for hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries.

The io™ solar power system is a new way to generate affordable electricity in rural, off-grid households in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Siemens Stiftung finalist - Stacked IO system in a shop

Siemens Stiftung finalist – Stacked IO system in a shop

The main product:
a 3.5W solar panel, solar charge controller, 10W.h LiFePO4 battery that power two LED ceiling lights with wall switches. These lights are enough to power a living room (80 lumens) and will last 5 hours after a full day of charging in the sun.

IO-products ready for shipment

IO-products ready for shipment

Three points make this product attractive:

  1. comes with a base set which is so affordable, it doesn’t require micro financing for most buyers
  2. the systems can be easily scaled up to meet the user’s electricity needs.
  3. designed to power any off-the-shelf 12V DC appliance
New IO users - Maasai

New IO users – Maasai

The cost of this amazing piece of technology? People in developing countries get access to their off-grid base energy supply for only USD 26.95.

And once they start using more electricity, they can scale up step by step..

Make sure many more people can benefit from cheap electricity and vote for the io™ solar power system

Which finalists are your favorites? You can vote here

About the author
Dricus is Managing Director at Sinovoltaics Group. Sinovoltaics Group assists PV developers, EPCs, utilities, financiers and insurance companies worldwide with the execution of ZERO RISK SOLAR projects - implemented by our multinational team of solar PV-specialized quality engineers and auditors on-site in Asia. Dricus is based in Hong Kong and has been working in the PV industry in China for 10+ years. Connect with Dricus on LinkedIn
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