Two of the biggest poverty traps in the poorest communities across the economically-developing world - lack of energy access and recurrent malaria – could be eradicated with one device. People at the bottom of the economic pyramid could be freed from both these plights with one invention: a solar-powered mosquito trap which also provides energy to light homes and power mobile phones.

Wageningen University in the Netherlands led a project to install 4,000 solar powered mosquito traps on Rusinga island, Kenya. They are halfway through their four year endeavour to eradicate malaria from the island without the use of insecticides. The SolarMal device traps contain a natural attractant and once inside the mosquitos are killed by dehydration. The power for the trap ventilators is provided by the solar panel, and the excess solar energy can power home lighting and phone recharging.

Worldwide, current vector control strategies are undermined by mosquitoes’ resistance to insecticides, as well as changes in feeding behaviour. On this Kenyan island, solar panels are an attempt to eventually eradicate malarial mosquitoes. Almost 80% of the households on Rusinga Island have been given a SolarMal panel to power a trap to catch mosquitoes before the malarial insects enter their homes.

Malaria kills more than half a million people per year - this is the death toll, but the amount of losses in school days, work days, and medical fees is gargantuan. The WHO estimates 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria Still today in 2015, 1.3 billion do not have access to electricitymeaning that when the sun sets around people in tropical countries are in total darkness until the sun rises again some 11 hours later. This SolarMal device can spare both these sorry predicaments.