Everyone has heard of Africa’s need for clean water. You have also heard of their need for medicine, malaria nets, and proper sanitation. But are you aware of their need for electrical power? One fourth of the world’s population lives without electricity and as a result suffer major disadvantages in nearly all aspects of their lives. Having electricity means the possibility for children to study at night. It means having time to finish chores or to power lights in order to sew for extra income. It means listening to a radio for governmental news or to power cell phones, which are being used throughout the developing world for mobile banking. In fact, a recent Time article suggests lack of electricity or power is one of the largest barriers to overcoming poverty. A life without electricity is also a life with increased health risks and premature death due to inhalation of toxic fumes from burning fuels.

The people at Designs For Hope, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, are seeking to help eradicate this problem. Their solution involves one of the world’s most simple and amazing inventions: the bicycle. In most every developing country, the bicycle is the only means for transportation other than your feet. Bicycles are at least four times as fast as walking and can carry up to five times as much cargo as a person. The bicycle is one of Africa’s greatest tools. The engineers at Designs For Hope have found a way to harness the energy spent from daily bicycle transportation to successfully charge a battery, which in turn gives light to a once dark world. Kona has partnered with Designs For Hope to help get the word out about this project. Designs For Hope is using a Kona Ute cargo bicycle to pedal for a purpose…and people are noticing.