Solar power for rural village

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Solar power for rural village

Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

The aim would be for each group member (100) to sell upwards of 50 solar power products, which in itself would equate to 5000 families having access to solar energy in their homes.

The medium term goal is for this model to continue expanding through out community, with each of the 100 members training 5 others, so that 25,000 residents living without light, will have access to a clean and sustainable energy source.

Long term - all families would have access to products, and solar power products available to them.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The rural village of Kabira, Uganda is a region hit hardest by the devastating effects of the HIV/AID epidemic. The majority of families live in extreme poverty, barely able to provide for their families and living in mud shacks and temporary structures . Every minute of daylight is used to earn a small living, yet despite Uganda's abundant sunshine, when night falls, darkness envelopes the community. When funds permit, kerosene is purchased for lanterns used to cook by and study with. This unsustainable source of fuel is both economically and environmentally unsustainable, and an alternative is needed in order for the community to develop. Many children who are required to work in the fields with their families afterschool, are unable to complete homework assignments due to the darkness. At the local school, KAASO, children begin classes in darkness at 6am, struggling to read, and awaiting the light to come. A long term, sustainable solution to the power crisis in sub-county of Kabira is needed, as with no mains electricity in the area, c.65000 individuals are currently living without electricity.

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

In order for the solution to this power crisis to be long lasting and sustainable, it must involve the community at every step, as research has shown that by simply providing equipment free of charge in Uganda - the value and effectiveness of the project will be reduced. The community of Kabira has the infrastructure in place to ensure that this does not happen. In 2002 a Community Empowerment Group was formed, and over 10 years it has grown in from 24 to 112 members. This group meets twice-weekly, where they receive education in reading, writing, farming techniques and healthcare. The group has had a number of successful and innovative entrepreneurial projects to date, including creating a dark and light house for mushroom growing, and keeping beehives. The group has an attendance rate of 60%, and many more members wish to join, which demonstrates the success of their initiatives. The aim, is to utilize this well established group to educate first the group on the benefits of green energy, and then provide the training and products for these individual to then educate the wider Kabira community with solar electricity options. It is hoped that by offering the products a small subsidy to customers, it will encourage the uptake of the products, and would enable the seller to earn a small income. The project would be self-sustainable as the initial capital would be returned in order to purchase further stock.
Impact: How does it Work

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

The group of 112 empowerment members would be trained on the long term financial benefits, as well as the environmental sustainability of solar power. Each group member would be issue personally with several products, so that they can use the items in their homes, and fully understand the benefits, and encouraged to put aside each day the money that they would have used for kerosene. Group members who wished to continue, would then be issue with stock, which they would sell onto the community. A variety of payment options such as rent to own or loans, would be available. The products would be at a slightly discounted rate for the first year, in order to encourage uptake. A small income would be generated by each seller in order to encourage sales.

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

There are solar panel products on the market in Uganda, the problem lies in that there no education, or financing options available to the most rural communities. Without initial capital, the group is not able to step into action, and help those most in need. The biggest challenge is funding to purchase the initial products. The group is already fosters an innovative spirit, and would quickly see the benefit in such a product. There may be some initial resistance from the community to invest in an unknown product, but it is hoped that the trust and respect that the Empowerment group has in the community, and their own personal experiences with the product will counteract these scenarios.


Does any one have any feed back on this Changeshop idea?