CleanCook Microfinance

CleanCook Microfinance: Providing clean cooking means to the poor rural households.

Kisii, KenyaKisii, Kenya
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

To avoid the cutting down of limited trees, air pollution, smoke-related human diseases and school-time wasted to collect firewood, I intend to establish a social enterprise that will provide affordable leasing and microloans facility to poor rural households to acquire and use LPG for cooking.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if all households in the world used clean sources of energy to cook their meals?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The project is addressing cutting down of trees, air pollution, smoke-related health diseases and school-time wasted to collect firewood which is caused by using biomass as means of cooking.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

A social enterprise that will convince poor rural households to switch to clean cooking means and help them acquire and use LPG by providing an affordable Leasing and Micro-loans facility with elaborate recruitment, training, monitoring and evaluation systems.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

LPG is one of the cleanest and affordable sources of energy for cooking. However, it is not used by the poor rural households because of high acquisition cost of gas cylinders in relation to the income levels of these households and abrupt gas refilling in relation to the irregular income flows. By coming up with a Leasing and Micro-loan facility, the poor rural households will be able to use LPG, refill their gas cylinders at emergencies and eventually own gas cylinders.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

If most poor rural households use LPG, there will be increase of forest cover, reduction of air pollution, reduction of smoke-related health diseases and reduction of school-time spent collecting firewood. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2009 Census report, 67.7% of the Kenyan population lives in rural areas and according to the Ministry of Energy 2007 survey, 90% of rural households use biomass energy to cook.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The clients will be chosen according to Wards (smallest political units). Within the Ward, clients will be divided into groups of five.One group will be recruited per Ward in the 1st quarter of the business and eventually, 1 more group shall be added in every quarter. Within a group, clients will be divided into those that qualify to take the gas cylinders on Lease (3) and those to take on Micro-loans (2). It will take one year and six months for all the 5 members in a group to own a gas cylinder.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

To be financially sustainable, we plan to levy marginal service fees on the services provided. We also plan to scale up in terms of clients served. This will cut down on the fixed costs. In addition, we will come up with a strong monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure that default cases are minimized. Lastly, we plan to reinvest the net earnings made in the first 3 years.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

One Acre Fund is addressing the problem by providing modern cook stoves. They have very nice model for rural development. The difference is that the One Acre Fund cook stoves use charcoal. Also, for One Acre Fund, this is not their core business since their focus is mainly food security. In terms of funding, there are several micro finance institutions giving micro loans but their loans are general with no value-addition. Lastly, there are several dealers offering LPG services but they mainly sale on cash and do not deliver direct to the clients.

Founding Story

The idea of providing clean cooking means to the poor rural households first happened out of an assignment (business profiling) which was a key deliverable of an Enterprise Development Agent training that was organized by United Nations Development Program in conjunction with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund-Kenya on October 2013. Then, one month after the training, I organized my idea into business plan when I learnt of a national business competition known as The Next Big Thing that was organized by Business Daily publication. It was among the top 30 shortlisted ideas for the final stage. Though I did not qualify, this gave me the inspiration to gather more resources to start up.


Currently, I am the only person working on the idea. I am a Business Management-Finance and Banking-graduate with rich experience in Enterprise Development having worked with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and One Acre Fund for a combined 5 years. With my skills and experience, I know how to build great teams to deliver the project goals.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through FaceBook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder/Chief Executive Officer

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

When I was in third year of my University education, I founded Faidika Youth SACCO Ltd which was the first registered youth cooperative in my home county. I believe that cooperatives are the best vehicle of mobilizing resources for economic development. Currently, I am running a small chicken enterprise in my home village which I envisage to grow into a big enterprise offering credit, training, consultancy, feeds, feeders, drinkers and all other products that will support chicken enterprises to grow. Chicken business in specific and agribusiness in general hold a key to economic development in the rural Africa.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?