Unite to Light – Megan Birney

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Solar solutions to global poverty.

Just giving a child a light increases graduation rates by 30%”
Megan Birney, the CEO of Unite to Light, talked with Mark and Patrick about the mission of the project and the big goals she has for the organization. Unite to Light has created a simple light that uses solar power to recharge an AA battery, providing light for a multitude of applications in the third world, or anywhere there’s no electricity. This wide-ranging conversation covered a lot of ground including:
  • 1.3 Billion people have no electricity. That’s a lot of people
  • She talks about Professor John Bowers and his Engineers without Borders at UCSB – one of the partners of the project
  • A brief history of the organization started seven years ago
  • How the design process created something of low cost and high durability
  • How the light replaces kerosene and candles and the real problems that the two fuels create
  • How the light is an economic stimulus as well
  • What’s next for the organization
  • How she’s settling into her role as CEO (she’s new since this summer)
  • Interning at the Smithsonian via the UCDC program while at UC San Diego
  • Why interns are so important and how she’s integrated them in each leadership role, she’s had since graduation
  • Why she sees the organization as working to solve Global Poverty
  • New markets for her include Disaster Relief

A light a day keeps the lions away.

One of the benefits of this light, as reported by users in rural Africa, is it is effective at keeping the lion’s away at night.

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