There are just hundreds of solar powered torches on the market, so it takes a lot to make one really stand out. What is so different about the BoGo light is not its design, however, but its business model. BoGo stands for “Buy One, Give One” – for each $25 torch you buy for yourself, they send one to your choice of a list of developing world charities, which then distribute them to needy individuals and families.

There are already more than 500 BoGos in nine UNHCR refugee camps worldwide. BoGo lights are helping people in Chad, Darfur, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Colombia, Algeria, Zambia and Ethiopia, Rwanda, Bolivia, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala, Haiti and Tanzania.
The oil company EXXON has bought them in bulk.


The torches have six super bright LEDs, and the standard AA batteries are recharged by the solar panel in about 8 hours. They can be used for four to five hours continuously, and the batteries last for about 2 years.


On the BoGo website, the testimonies are touching. One from an orphanage in Haiti reads, “You can not imagine how your flashlights are important in Terrier Rouge. People have no electricity and kids do their homework by the weak light of a street lamp, when the electricity is on which is not often.”


In areas without electricity, kerosene and wood are used both for cooking and for lighting. As well as being dangerous and polluting, kerosene can cost a family around 30% of their annual income. The torches mean reduce the need for kerosene for lighting. They can reduce deaths from toxic smoke inhalation in humans, but also cut deaths of a family’s essential livestock by providing light for night births. The bright LEDs enable children to do their homework at night, since many of them are working during the day. Fascinatingly, they may also help reduce the attraction of mosquitoes to dwellings, as the carbon dioxide to which they are attracted is produced in part by burning kerosene.

Sadly, the BoGo lights are not yet available outside the US, but I for one will be adding my name to the mailing list to be notified when this changes.




  1. 1 Jawahar September 9, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    HI Amanda!
    I am an Indian administrative service (IAS) probationer and i would like to buy a BoGo solar torch. Can you please guied me to buy one. I like the idea behind BoGo. plz help. can i get it in INDIA? If not tell me the route.


  2. 2 Soarabh Pathak September 9, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Dear Mr Jawahar,
    You can go to the website to puchase this solar torch.
    Even iam trying from this site.
    I will inform when i get the delivery of this torch.
    Actually iam also looking this as an option for the nearby village people who cannot aford the electricity or rather dont have any other option.

    Soarabh Pathak
    Gurgaon ,

  3. 3 Dr. A.M.Kulkarni September 12, 2007 at 6:59 am

    I read the article in times of India (TOI)and decidedto go for one

  4. 4 Amanda September 14, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks for your interest in the BoGo article. I’ve checked the BoGo
    website and it still looks to be available in the US only at the moment.

    They’ve updated their site – and it’s very well designed, well worth a
    look. I know they were surprised by the amount of interest. I’ve emaile
    them to ask about when they’ll be doing international orders, and I’ll
    let you know what they say

  5. 5 Sanjay February 25, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Dear Mr Jawahar,

    Also an Indian NGO is making use of the Buy One, Get One model. Please check out:

    Hope this helps!


  1. 1 CRAZY WEDNESDAY: A TRADITIONAL POEM, RE-CYCLED FOR YOUR DELIGHT! « Mygreenweek Trackback on December 19, 2007 at 3:14 am

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