I so backed Zuva. Apocalypse Girl approves!
Jenn was kind enough to invite us onto her blog to tell you about a solar-powered flashlight/phone charger we designed called Zuva. She absolutely swears it has nothing to do with the impending zombie apocalypse / alien takeover / world ending storm.
Zuva means "Sun" in the Shona language, one of the many dialects spoken in southeastern Africa. After living in Mozambique and Angola for nearly 5 years, we discovered that two of the greatest needs of the people are a dependable light source and a way to charge cell phones without access to the power grid. Even the poorest of people in Africa have cell phones. Used phones are cheap, and in most places, only the person originating the phone call pays for the call. But, the question is how to charge your cell phone when you have no access to electrical power?
One of the communities that we visited several times in Mozambique is called Luaha. It is located 40 kilometers from the closest power grid. The leader of the village, Lucas Bento, has a cell phone, along with several other villagers. But, because they can only charge their phones when someone goes to the larger village which has power, they keep their phones turned off unless they need to make a call or send a text. We were able to send text messages to Lucas, but he only received them when he turned on his phone, and that could take several days.
Another issue that the villagers face is lighting. Unless there is a full moon, there is absolutely no light at night. We have rarely experienced anything so dark. So, a combination solar flashlight and cell phone charger is exactly what they need since what they do have in abundance is sunlight during the day.
While we were designing Zuva we realized that many of us in the US also face the same issues. What happens when our power goes out due to an ice storm, hurricane, or any number of natural disasters, where not only could we use a flashlight, but a charged cell phone - especially in this day and age where we are encouraged to text, not call, during large scale emergency situations to free up the phone lines for emergency responders.
The problem with most flashlights is that when you reach for them the batteries are often dead or weak. We designed our flashlight to be zero maintenance – you never have to replace anything. The best place to store the Zuva is in a sunny windowsill or on the dashboard of your car. That way it is always charged and ready to supply hours of bright light, or charge your cell phone when you realize that your battery is nearly dead.
Lastly, and most importantly, given that we were originally inspired to create while living in Mozambique and saw everyone there struggling with an inconsistent power grid, lacking light, or a means to power their phones (a lifeline in many cases), we’re donating 1 flashlight to "Care For Life" (a humanitarian organization that works in Mozambique helping the people there by teaching them self reliance) for every 4 flashlights that are funded through my indiegogo campaign. So not only will you be able to have light and power during your own emergencies, but you'll also be helping people in a developing country maintain light and power as well.
If you'd be interested in supporting Zuva, you can do so here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/zuva-lighting-a-sustainable-world
We're Loren and Tina Spendlove. We lived and worked in Mozambique and Angola for nearly 5 years and gained a great love and appreciation for Africa and its wonderful people. We have a great deal of experience bringing products to market in the United States through traditional means. This is our first crowd-funding project, and we're launching it because we don't just want to bring another product to market. We want Zuva to make a difference in the lives of people like those we met in Mozambique, and feel that it has the potential to do so. We have 5 adult children, 6 grandchildren, and 2 more on the way!
Loren: PhD, Education – University of Wyoming. MBA – California State University, Fullerton. BS, Finance – Brigham Young University. Certified Financial Manager (CFM). Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
Tina: MA, Health Psychology – Northcentral University. BA, Psychology – Southern Utah University.