Lifeline Energy

Lifeline Energy is a non-profit social enterprise that provides sustainable information and education access to vulnerable populations. We achieve this by designing, manufacturing and distributing solar and wind-up media players and radios for classroom and group listening. Since 1999, we have distributed more than 500,000 power independent radios to provide on-demand access to information and education, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years we have received numerous awards including the Tech Museum of Innovation Award, a World Bank Development Marketplace Award and an Index: Design to Improve Life Award. In addition, our founder and CEO Kristine Pearson was named one of TIME magazi...
Jun 27, 2014

Lifeplayer MP3s being sent to Zambia

We’re excited to be sending a large consignment of Lifeplayer MP3s to support Learning at Taonga Market in Zambia. Through the generosity of GlobalGiving and other donors in both the USA and UK, Lifeline Energy is able to support community schools in the Southern and Eastern provinces. The Lifeplayers will be loaded with Taonga Market lessons mainly covering Grades 1 and 2, the foundation grades. Some schools also want to load Grade 7 as sometimes there are so few children who make it this far, that community schools can’t justify supporting a teacher. The Lifeplayer will enable these children to stay in school, complete Grade 7 and hopefully go onto secondary school.

We will keep you posted on the progress of the initiative throughout the year.

Apr 18, 2014

Another consignment of radio-lights protecting Typhoon Haiyan survivors

A happy user of the Polaris!
A happy user of the Polaris!

We’re delighted to report that we’ve sent another consignment of emergency radio-lights to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  Our local partner, the respected International Office of Migration, has distributed them mainly in and around Tacloban, one of the worst-hit areas.

There’s a vibrant network of community radio stations that are broadcasting all sorts of practical information on seasonal diseases and other health matters, rehabilitating disaster-affected communities, violence against women, child care and human trafficking.

Although Typhoon Haiyan struck nearly a year ago, water and electricity have yet to be restored in many areas.  Filipinos really appreciate that the solar and wind-up Polaris not only provides information on demand, but also help people to see at night.  The built-in LED light is useful for undertaking tasks as well as walking. 

Feb 21, 2014

The joy of watching radio learners

Eighty-four Grade 1 students in blue and white uniforms, sit scrunched close together on hard wooden bench-desks at New Mandevu school in Lusaka. Given the large number of children attending the school, this was the afternoon class and many youngsters were yawning, probably wishing for a nap instead of lessons.

Their teacher, Mrs Gwera, introduced her colleague and 11-year Taonga Market veteran mentor, Mwenya Mvula, who now teaches Grade 5. He told the children in the local language, Njanja, that they would be participating in a radio lesson for the first time.

Mr Mvula demonstrated the Lifeplayer, calling it a ‘magic radio’. He tuned it into Grade 1: Lesson 1: Segment 1 on the screen, put it on a chair on top of the table so that everyone could see it. He asked the children to stand up and pressed start. What an absolute delight it was to watch these little ones spontaneously dance and sing, “I am excited, I am so happy, Taonga’s your chance to learn. Ta-ta-ta Taonga Market, ta-ta-ta Taonga Market . . .”

After taking part in the first two lessons Mr Mvula asked if they wanted to sing the Taonga song again and they shouted, “yes!” So they did. My colleague, Phil Goodwin, and I also couldn’t help but join in. Additional merriment ensued as the students watched the ‘mazungus’ (white people) singing along.

Mrs Gwera told me that she’d heard about Taonga Market but had never seen it in action. And she loved it. She explained that many children may not have eaten a meal for the day and when just sitting in the classroom, they may doze off. She said the radio programmes would not only combat dozing, she believed that the children would engage with songs and games and they would enjoy learning more. Mrs Gwere also thought the radio programmes would help the teachers who felt overwhelmed with large classes, or who don’t know certain subjects very well, like maths or science.

New Mandevu is a basic primary school with just 27 teachers serving more than 4,500 learners in Grades 1- 9. Many classroom are jam-packed with 100-plus pupils and most teachers teach morning and afternoon classes. Our aim is to provide all Grade 1-4 teachers at New Mandevu, as a priority, with Lifeplayers. Student grades will be recorded pre and after Taonga Market learning to track progress. In addition, teachers and learners will be interviewed to determine what other benefits they have derived from the interactive radio learning approach.

I’ve seen Taonga Market classes dozens times over the years, but it has been sometime since I’ve watched a first time class participate. After we left I found the theme song swirling in my head, all the while noticing that my jaw ached from smiling.

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