Evans Wadongo showcasing the MwangaBora
Evans Wadongo (born 11 March 1986) is a Kenyan engineer, the Executive Director and Chairman of SDFA-Kenya, and one of CNN's top ten heroes of 2010. He is a graduate in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. Evans was born in the Western part of Kenya, where he grew up as the youngest of five brothers. Both his father and mother are teachers. He attended Bisunu Primary School, a rural primary school, where he walked over 10 km daily to reach the school. His home and school had no electricity, but he braved the odds to join Kakamega High School, where he managed to graduate with top marks, and was listed among the top 100 best students in Kenya. He later joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and graduated in July 2009 with a BSc in Electronics and Computer Engineering.
While at the university, Evans was an active member of the Rotaract Club (part of Rotary International), where he participated in various community initiatives, including the donation of clothes to children homes and street clean-up campaigns. He interned at Kenyatta National Hospital in 2006, at Metsec Ltd in 2007, and at UUNET Kenya (now MTN Business Kenya) in 2008.
Evans designed a solar lamp which he calls ‘MwangaBora (Swahili for "Good Light") in 2004 as a way to address poor education, climate change, health and poverty in rural areas in Kenya. Evans named the entire project ‘Use Solar, Save Lives’ as he aimed to use solar technology as a way to save lives in the poor communities he grew up in.
He joined Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (SDFA-Kenya), a non-profit in 2006. SDFA-Kenya was officially registered by the NGO Coordination Board in June 2007 and its primary focus is environment, education and economic empowerment. Evans was the founding chairman. SDFA-Kenya adopted the ‘Use Solar, Save Lives' programme as its main focus program as it combines the three aspects of education, environment, and economic empowerment. SDFA-Kenya is now working in all regions in Kenya. In addition, it is now working in Malawi in partnership with Jacaranda Foundation. To date, SDFA-Kenya under the leadership of Mr. Wadongo has influenced directly over 100,000 people and, indirectly, millions of others.
Apart from being the Chairman of the organisation, Evans doubled up as a Project Manager from 2006 to 2008. From 2008 to July 2010, Evans was the chairman and Programs Director. He is currently the Executive Director and Chairman of SDFA-Kenya.
In July 2011, in response to the increased publicity from the international community, Evans launched Just One Lamp, a globally-focused campaign to raise funding and awareness for MwangaBora lamps. Evans hopes to expand his effort beyond Kenya and bring his model to other developing nations.
Awards and recognition
In recognition of his work in Kenya, Evans has received numerous awards and publicity from the international community over the past few years.
On 30 March 2011, Wadongo was named one of three recipients of the inaugural Mikhail Gorbachev Awards for "The Man Who Changed the World." His fellow inaugural recipients of this award were Sir Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Ted Turner, media mogul and founder of CNN. The ceremony, held in London, also celebrated Gorbachev's 80th birthday.
Evans was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for 2011. The awards ceremony was held in Cape Town, South Africa, during the World Economic Forum for Africa. He was also among "20 Men Who Will Shape the Next 20 Years" by UK's Esquire magazine in 2011, and an Unreasonable Institute Fellow in 2011.
SDFA-Kenya is also a SEED award winner for 2011.
Evans was a finalist at the inaugural Innovation Prize for Africa held in Addis Ababa in 2012. He also received the African International Achievers Award in 2012.
Evans Wadongo and his story have been featured on CNN, BBC, AFP, The New Yorker, China Central Television, Reuters, France 24, Discovery Channel, MBC South Korea, Deutsche Welle, German Radio, Russian State TV, Huffington Post among other international media channels. Locally in Kenya, Evans has been featured on KTN TV, K24 TV, NTV, KBC TV, Citizen TV, KISS FM Radio, Radio Jambo, Capital FM, Nation Newspaper, Standard Newspaper, The Star newspaper, The People newspaper, Parents Magazine, Management Magazine, and many online news sources around the world.
Evans was named one of four torchbearers to represent Kenya during the 2012 London Olympics Torch Relay.
Evans has been a speaker in schools, colleges and international conferences in many countries in Europe, Americas, Middle East, and Africa, including the Clinton Global Initiative-University, African Union Youth Forum, African Development Forum, Education Without Borders, among others.
In August 2013, Evans was named on a list by MIT Technology Review of the Top 35 Innovators Under 35.
- "Gorbachev honours 'world changers'". Press Association. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Evans Wadongo Listed Among Top Global Innovators by MIT.
- "Kerosene Lamp That Lit the Road to Charity". Daily Nation. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Evans: a selfless Kenyan hero". Capital Lifestyle (98.4 Capital FM). 24 September 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Solar lamps lifting Kenyans out of poverty". CNN.com. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.