Engineering Club at WISER NGO



  • Duke Global Health Institute


  • Duke Engage

End Date:

  • Ongoing

Engineering Club at WISER NGO

During 2014, fellows at the GWHT Center worked with staff at WISER NGO to develop and found an engineering club at the WISER secondary school for girls in Muhuru Bay Kenya. The staff at WISER indicated that lighting, particularly for use in the school during blackouts and in the light-poor community in general, was a fundamental need of the area. During the spring semester, fellows developed a six-week curriculum to teach high-school girls at WISER NGO to make renewable-energy lights using local materials and sell them within their community. Rather than donating lights, they empowered girls to be change-makers and leveraged the resource of motivated women to address Muhuru Bay's light deficit. During the summer, two fellows traveled to Muhuru Bay to found the club and implement their curriculum. Their efforts were hugely successful. The girls designed and constructed 26 flashlights currently used during school blackouts. During the club's activities, the idea for community sales came from members of the school, indicating community interest. Before leaving Kenya, the fellows left in place a six-week design challenge structure, where the girls would identify a community need and work to design the best light source for that application. Recognizing that this would require continued funding, upon returning to Duke in the fall, the fellows organized a crowd-sourced funding campaign, and work continues to design a plan to make the engineering club at WISER a self-sustaining entity through a community sales program.