Award-winning social enterprise Barefoot Power and non-profit organisation Kiva are working together to improve the lives of millions of families that do not have access to affordable energy in remote communities across the world.
Barefoot Power has established partnerships with NRG Solutions in Cambodia and Sosai Renewable Energies in Nigeria to supply solar light and phone charging solutions to communities in off grid areas of each country. In order to get more light and phone charging solutions to families that live with no power every day, Kiva is managing loans that will provide NRG and Sosai with the necessary upfront capital to expand their distribution.
“Not only does this partnership get the solar lighting and phone charging products to people who really need them, but it also creates jobs for the people in those communities,” Barefoot Power Global Sales Manager Eliza Hogan said.
Daniel Pacheco from NRG, is a highly motivated individual, whose passion is to help empower off grid communities in Cambodia by providing solar lighting solutions for both home and businesses. He trains and encourages entrepreneurs to build Barefoot Power micro franchises.
The Kiva loan is important to Daniel because it enables a small importer an opportunity to grow. “In Daniel’s case the demand for our (Barefoot) products are much higher than supply, however, due to financial constraints, he is not able to make an order large enough to meet those demands,” explains Gladys Okach, Account Manager at Barefoot Power. With the Kiva loan, it is possible for Daniel and the team at NRG to stock Barefoot products and provide safe, affordable energy to communities around Phat Sanday.
Habiba Ahmed Ali, Managing Directress of Sosai Renewable Energies is assisting entrepreneurs build solar energy businesses in Kaduna, Nigeria. Based in the northern part of Nigeria, Sosai is a social enterprise with a strategic focus on building sustainable businesses to help people at the bottom of the pyramid.
By recruiting entrepreneurs that “have the capacity and the need and the drive” to build sustainable micro franchises, Habiba hopes to make Barefoot solar products available while encouraging a cleaner life style.
Families and schools have access to light in the evening for study, families can socialize, prepare meals, and feel secure at night with the use of the solar lights. Just as important, individuals save money on kerosene to help pay for other needs like education and medical expenses. And with ability to charge their phones, individuals have access to information via text message and access to mobile money.
“Through its affordable energy solutions Barefoot Power provides a safe, healthy and cost-effective alternative to kerosene, the lighting solution currently used by millions around the world,” Ms Hogan explains. She continues to explain that “kerosene is expensive and offers a poor lighting solution which means less working and study hours for people. And by offering a phone charging solution, people have access to information and mobile money alternatives to help improve their lives.”
Barefoot Power partnership with Kiva provides the necessary financing to distribution partners to ensure that the most vulnerable communities have access to renewable energy solutions.