Richard Turere hails from the pastoral Maasai community in Kenya. As a young boy, he was responsible for herding and caretaking his family’s herd of cattle. Because Richard’s family lives on the periphery of the unfenced Nairobi National Park, they often experienced lion attacks on their livestock, leading to devastating losses of livestock that they depend on for survival.
Richard applied his creative thinking skills and came up with a novel solution. While patrolling one night, he discovered that lions were afraid of and would retreat if they spotted a person walking around with a flashlight. Using electrical skills he had taught himself by breaking apart old radios, Richard created an LED light device powered by an old car battery and some solar panels. At night, the light flashes in a sequence that mimics someone patrolling with a flashlight and successfully repels lions from coming close to livestock.
This ensures that local Maasai can preserve their herds and that fewer lions are killed when spotted near pastoral communities.
Richard has formalized his clever solution under an organization called Lionlights, and the innovation has been installed on 750 farms now in Kenya over the past 4 years. He also employs 50 youth from his village who manage the installation of the lights.
The success of Richard’s invention has earned him funding from notable wildlife organizations like African Wildlife Foundation, BigLife Foundation and Wildlife Direct.
He was also invited to share his innovation with the world at the TED Global Stage in California and became the youngest person in Kenya to hold a patent for his invention.