Evans Wadongo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Evans Wadongo
Evans Wadongo
Evans Wadongo showcasing the MwangaBora
Born 11 March 1986 (1986-03-11) (age 32)
Kakamega, Kenya
Occupation engineer
Known for SDFA-Kenya
Website evanswadongo.com

Evans Wadongo (born 11 March 1986) is a Kenyan engineer, the Co-Founder of GreenWize Energy Ltd, the Executive Director and Founder 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.

Early life and education[edit]

Wadongo was born in the Western part of Kenya. Both his father and mother are teachers. He attended Manyonje and Bisunu Primary Schools, rural primary schools, where he walked over 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) 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 Certificate of Secondary Education examinations of 2002. He later joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology[1] and graduated in July 2009 with a BSc (honors) in Electronics and Computer Engineering.

While at the university, Wadongo 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.


Wadongo designed a solar lamp which he calls ‘MwangaBora (Swahili for "Good Light")[1] in 2004 as a way to address poor education, climate change, health and poverty in rural areas in Kenya. Wadongo 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.[2][3]

He later founded Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (SDFA-Kenya), a non-profit in 2006. SDFA-Kenya was officially registered in Kenya in June 2007 and its primary focus is environment, education and economic empowerment. Wadongo 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.[4] 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 hundreds of thousands of people and, indirectly, millions of others.

Apart from being the Chairman of the organisation, Wadongo doubled up as a Project Manager from 2006 to 2008. From 2008 to July 2010, Wadongo 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, Wadongo launched Just One Lamp, a globally-focused[clarification needed] campaign that raised funding and awareness for MwangaBora lamps. Wadongo is now expanding his effort beyond Kenya and bringing his model to other developing nations.

In 2013, Wadongo co-founded GreenWize Energy Limited, a for-profit social enterprise that designs and implements renewable energy solutions.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In recognition of his work in Kenya, Wadongo has received numerous awards and publicity from the international community over the past few years.

Wadongo was voted one of CNN's top ten heroes of 2010.[5]

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.[6]

Wadongo won the Outstanding Social Entrepreneur in Africa at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship held in Mauritius in 2013.[7]

Wadongo was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for 2011.[8] 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.[4]

Wadongo 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,[9] China Central Television,[10] Reuters,[11] France 24,[12] Discovery Channel,[citation needed] MBC South Korea, Deutsche Welle, German Radio, Russian State TV, Huffington Post[13] among other international media channels. Locally in Kenya, Wadongo 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, and Management Magazine.[citation needed]

Wadongo was named one of four torchbearers to represent Kenya during the 2012 London Olympics Torch Relay.[14]

Wadongo has been a speaker in schools, colleges and international conferences in many countries in Europe, Americas, Middle East, and Africa, including the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, African Development Forum, Clinton Global Initiative-University, African Union Youth Forum, Education Without Borders, LSE Africa Summit,among others.

In August 2013, Wadongo was named by The Diplomatic Courier as a Top 99 under 33 Shaper,[15] and on a list by MIT Technology Review of the Top 35 Innovators Under 35.[16][1]


  1. ^ a b c "Evans Wadongo | Innovators Under 35". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Solar lamps lifting Kenyans out of poverty". CNN.com. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Anthony Nyongesa (27 September 2010). "Kerosene Lamp That Lit the Road to Charity". Daily Nation. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  4. ^ a b SEED winner - Use solar, save lives, United Nations 
  5. ^ "CNN Heroes 2010". CNN. 
  6. ^ "Gorbachev honours 'world changers'". Press Association. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Kenyan entrepreneur wins award for improving lives". Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  8. ^ http://www.weforum.org/news/africas-leading-social-entrepreneurs-be-awarded-world-economic-forum-africa
  9. ^ Allen, Emma (2013-04-29). "Magic Lantern". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  10. ^ "Faces of Africa 20120521 Wadongo´s little lamp CCTV News - CNTV English". english.cntv.cn. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  11. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/21/mit-tech-awards-idUSnPNDC67187+1e0+PRN20130821
  12. ^ "Green Africa: Solar lamps to empower the poor - France 24". France 24. 2015-08-29. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  13. ^ "Evans Wadongo | HuffPost". www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  14. ^ "London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay News". International Olympic Committee. 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  15. ^ "Evans Wadongo". Diplomatic Courier. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Evans Wadongo Listed Among Top Global Innovators by MIT.