Edu-Light

Edu-Light: Improving Education One Solar Light At A Time

Windhoek, NamibiaWindhoek, Namibia
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Edu-Light is an initiative powered by GreenVille Solutions that aims to work with schools to find out which learners do not have electricity at home and raise sponsorship through companies' CSR programmes to provide the Sun King Eco from Greenlight Planet to them as a study tool.

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

What if every learner in Namibia could study as long as they wanted every night without being exposed to health & safety issues caused by kerosene/candles?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to the recent census 33% of children (7-18 years old) live in poor households. Namibia has the highest drop out rate in the SADC region and one of the main contributors to this problem is the lack of accessibility to electricity for studying at night. For the families where energy poverty is an issue, candles, paraffin and flashlights are used for lighting. This means limited studying time due to the cost and low quality light.

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

By running survey in schools and gathering data on the learners in need, we estimate the number of solar lights (Sun King Eco from Greenlight Planet - www.greenlightplanet.com) needed and raise sponsorship from companies with Education and Environment in their CSR programmes. Once sponsorship is secured, we oversee the handover process and enable learners to study longer at night with their solar study lights and reduce the family dependency on fuel based lighting systems. This enables: 1. the learner to study longer in a safer, healthier and brighter environment with the aim to increase his/her school performance 2. his/her family to save on energy with the savings to be reinvested for the well-being of the family.

Awards

Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) Business Plan Competition 2015 Winner
Impact: How does it Work

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

SolarAid, the UK based organization that has sold over 1.1 million solar lamps in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, states in their Impact Report that an average solar light saves a family $75 a year, enables children to do an extra hour of homework per day and reduces indoor air pollution leading to an improvement in health and safety as a result ( including a reduction in coughing, chest problems, eye irritation and risk of fire). For every solar light purchased or donated to a learner, lives are improved. By the time a learner receives a solar light, they enable their families to reduce their dependency on kerosene/candles and be more productive at night.

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

Our pilot school - Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School - received a donation of 300 solar lights from NamibMills (www.namibmills.com) in September, just before exams (The school year runs from February to November). These lights were distributed to 250 learners who live with about 500 other people (300 learners included). To date, no learner has complained about the solar light and their third term exam performance will be compared to the previous two to check whether the solar light has positively impacted their education. We have partnered with NamibMills to provide 600 lights to at least 2 schools yearly for the next 3 years but we are still working towards getting more businesses on board to be able to have more than 2 schools sponsored yearly as Namibia has about 500 schools situated in or around informal settlements and rural areas.

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

About 62% of households in Namibia do not have access to electricity and Namibia has about 400 schools that are situated in/around rural areas and informal settlements. With Namibia offering free primary and secondary education, we aim to be one of the main partner of the ministry of education with a solar light being included in the learner school material provided by the government within 5 to 10 years. We also aim to expand to neighbourhing countries and penetrate the Central African market.
Sustainability

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

Currently, GreenVille Solutions generates revenue through direct sales of Sun King solar lights, using a network of independent sales agents and raising sponsorship for schools. To be able to run in a sustainable way, we have to raise enough capital to be able to purchase the solar lights way in advance and have them shipped by sea instead of air freight; once that's sorted, we will be generating profit and be able to grow.

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

Elephant Energy and some NGOs lend solar lights to a very limited number of learners in some specific rural areas around the exam period to enable them to study. The learners give the lights back once they are done writing exams. We believe in providing the lights as soon as school and increase their productivity from the start of the year but also enable their families to save on lighting and hopefully enable them to invest in more cleaner energy alternatives. With our initiative, we get to measure and track our impact.
Team

Founding Story

Sylver is passionate about renewable energy especially solar energy and after being introduced to the Millennium Development Goals (now Sustainable Development Goals), he decided to come up with a business that could be around his passion and be aligned with the Global Goals. Namibia is a country focused on home systems when it comes to solar energy, leaving out the low income population. With pico solar systems and portable solar systems not being popular, GreenVille Solutions was started in June 2015 to tackle energy poverty by providing affordable high quality solar lights and phone chargers and create awareness on solar energy and the risk of using kerosene and candles.

Team

I manage the business on a day-to-day basis with Kristophna Shilongo and Tonata Shaningwa - the other two cofounders - helping out part-time when necessary as they currently employed by other companies and GreenVille Solutions does not have the capital to accommodate the three of us. I have a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Kristophina Shilongo is a former Electrical Engineering student now studying Communications and Tonata Shaningwa hols a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering & MBA. The proposed structure when GVS can accommodate the three partners is as follows: Sylver Kibelolaud: Chief Executive Officer; Tonata Shaningwa: Operations Director and Kristophina Shilongo: Marketing & Partnerships Development.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka Twitter Account

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

Co-founder and CEO

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, Zero Hunger, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

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

I have experience working with start-ups thanks to my one year term (2014-2015) as AIESEC Namibia’s Vice President – responsible for outgoing exchange, communications and business development - where I was responsible for sending 22 Namibians abroad (18 for a 6-week volunteering exchange in 10 different countries and 4 for a one-year internship at Tata Consultancy Services in India), partnering with the Social Security Commission Development Fund for them to sponsor 30 of their students to go volunteer abroad within the SADC region for a total sum of N$325,000 ( 23500 USD) and raising N$105,000 (7600 USD) to organize the first Namibia Youth to Business Forum with a profit of N$50000 (3600 USD). The link of the output report is: http://issuu.com/aiesecnam/docs/y2b_delegate_output

From my term I got to:
1. work in an international team as my two other colleagues were Dutch and German
2. lead teams with 20 part-time volunteers
3. attend conferences in South Africa, Taiwan and Greece
4. facilitate local and national conferences
5. do sales, learn about web development
6. work with limited resources (we only worked unpaid between July 2014 and January 2015, receiving our monthly stipend for the first time in February 2015)

AIESEC Namibia website: www.aiesecnamibia.org

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

We currently have 4 trained independent sales agents all living in Windhoek's informal settlements. They are provided with customized marketing material depending on their needs and they earn money while improving their communities.

We are also members of the Recycle Namibia Forum ( www.rnf.com.na) and soon to be part of REIAoN (Renewable Energy Industry Association of Namibia).

For our Edu-Light initiative, our founding sponsor is NamibMills and we are working towards getting more companies on board.

As mentors, I am under the supervision of Bernice Karuhumba (NBII Entrepreneurship & Innovation Department manager) and Ally Angula (LEAP Namibia co-founding MD)

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