Northwestern University

Tue 4:00 PM

Alan Hurt, Light Up Africa

When: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 1.350 (ITW Classroom), 2133 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Phillip Jacob   847.467.3533

Group: Segal Design Institute

Category: Academic

More Info


Out Of The Dark, Into The light - Powering People Beyond Light Poverty

As a kid, Alan immersed himself in volunteering. He surrounded himself with those who at the time, “society” deemed unfit to interact with - unfit to learn from. At a young age he learned the value of “social interaction,” not “social acceptance.”

He learned that as kids, the circles we cling to so often transform our lives and as we grow older, these circles slowly become dots. It is these dots that limit us, closing our eyes to the ever-changing current of global issues like “Light Poverty.” Eventually, it becomes these dots that disconnect us from a world that is rapidly speeding by. Leaving communities, countries, and entire populations in “the dark.”

Light Up Africa is a social impact startup built to change the way the world thinks about electricity, while ensuring over 500 million people in Africa have access to it. The talk will cover an analysis of why current energy and lighting solutions are not working and what Light Up Africa is doing to solve Light Poverty.

“Mzungu,” “mzungu,” almost rehearsed as Alan was greeted with the early morning wake up calls from the children of Nakuru, Kenya’s largest slum. “Mzuri,” the easiest and quite frankly least formal response almost always brought forth a gleaming row of
smiles masking the horrid conditions surrounding them. To see one who stands with nothing appear to have everything is what led Alan on his journey to Africa, and is what follows his commanding footsteps through life.

Over the past 6 years, he has taught children of developing countries, spent 3 months collecting research on energy and the many forms it presents itself in Africa, worked on designing biogas digesters in Lesotho, climbed mountains promoting education in
Tanzania, researched ways to turn sand into electrical energy in Namibia, and has been involved in turning water hyacinth into energy in Southern Africa. Most importantly, he has made a path where not many have travelled, in hopes many will one day follow to help eliminate Light Poverty.

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