Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
We have started our project in Senegal in the province Tambacounda in Goudiri, a small city close to Mali. Around Goudiri are 72 little villages with 300-400 inhabitants each. We have employed the first senegalesian employee. The first 20 Solar systems have been installed on a micro credit basis. One of the 72 villages have now in several huts light. Every four weeks our employee is travelling to Goudiri (10 hours by car), collect the credits, check the systems, try to get new customers and help starting little income generating businesses. We have also checked into Solar energy pumps, which we might offer in the near future. Water is available, but in very deep ponds.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
Senegal as well as other countries in West Africa or so called Sub-Sahara belong to the poorest countries in the world. In Senegal, where we have started our Social Busines bonergie 68 % of the population have less then 2 Dollars per day. Especially the rural regions are very under developed. Access to energy is a huge problem. Only the area around Dakar or some smaller cities have power, but the rural areas will probably get no access to power within the next 20 years. A development without energy and technology is very difficult. Thats why we address this problem with Solar Energy with the help of micro credits.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?
We have started a Social Business to address this problem. We find the combination of social entrepreneurship to solve a social problem ideal. Governments and NGO can not solve these huge problem alone. Social businesses can help a lot if they focus on solving a social problem - in our case, poverty and not in maximizing personal profits. We are building up an organisation in Senegal already. We have our first employee and our pilot project in some little villages around Goudiri in the province of Tambacounda, 10 hours driving from Dakar has started. We have alrady 20 customers for our small Solar Home Systems. Our employee is travelling every 4 weeks to this region, collect the credits, look at the systems and helping people to start their own little revenue generating projects, now that they have access to energy.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
We will continue step by step incrasing our customer base and reduce therefor the poverty in this region. We will extend our organization into other regions in Senegal and also other countries in West Africa. We will build up a Solar energy training center for our employees and a service organization to ensure hundred percent availablity of the systems.
To be successful moving forward, here are some things we need to consider.
1. Customer orientation - Even if people are poor does not mean they don't know what they would need to develop. To listen to their needs and help them in their own development and not force them into an development which we think is good for them.
2. Choice - Not only one solution but several to fulfill different needs.
3. Micro credits - The systems can be bought with small, affordable monthly rates. After 12 to 24 months the Solar systems belong to them and our customer save a lot of money on energy costs.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
We intent to work together with the african governments and try to initialize a joined effort for rural electrification.