DIV Grantee, Mera Gao Power, was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Tech Pioneers!
EGG Solar Home Systems Lead to Improvement in Students’ Grades
"Many of our customers report that their children’s grades improve after the installation of EGG solar home systems. The reliable, non-polluting lighting has allowed their children to study as many as three more hours per day, long after the sun sets."
Read Full Blog Post Here: http://egg-energy.com/2014/08/improved-grades/
National Geographic Great Energy Challenge Grantee: Carbon Roots International
National Geographic features Carbon Roots International, a DIV and Great Energy Challenge Grantee.
By using an agile, continuous deployment tool like the lean startup, government leaders and social innovators can experiment with new ways to solve old problems scientifically….
"Y-Combinator’s new batch of nonprofit startups and the White House are using the lean startup. The Lean Startup framework is not exclusive to startups in Silicon Valley, but for all institutions and entities looking to test new innovations quickly and ultimately bring new ideas to life.
By using an agile, continuous deployment tool like the lean startup, government leaders and social innovators can experiment with new ways to solve old problems scientifically. For example, with help from the White House, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) created Development Innovation Ventures. It is similar to a venture capital fund that provides fiscal resources and technical expertise to global startups after first conducting due diligence evaluations…”
Read the full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marquis-cabrera/what-does-ycombinator-and_b_5680216.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
New Award! KOPERNIK AND USAID PARTNER TO CONNECT REMOTE COMMUNITIES IN INDONESIA WITH LIFE-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY
Kopernik, an Indonesia-based non-profit organisation, has been awarded a US$100,000 grant by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program. The grant will strengthen Kopernik’s clean energy micro-social-enterprise initiative in eastern Indonesia, greatly expanding access to simple, life-changing technology in some of Indonesia’s poorest provinces.
DIV supports breakthrough solutions to the world’s most intractable development challenges—interventions that could change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost. DIV funding over the next 12 months will support Kopernik’s Tech Kiosk network in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Tech Kiosk micro-entrepreneurs run small shops (warung) selling simple technologies like solar lights, water filters and fuel-efficient cookstoves alongside a range of everyday goods. USAID support will help expand the selection of technologies available to Tech Kiosk owners, strengthen the business training components of the program, and improve the monitoring and reporting of Tech Kiosk sales.
The twin goals of Kopernik’s clean energy micro-social-enterprise initiative are to equip micro-entrepreneurs, primarily women, with the tools they need to boost their income and grow their businesses, and to develop sustainable supply chains of life-changing technology to last mile communities.
A simple solar lantern costing less than US$20 can save a family more than US$260 on lighting fuel over five years. An inexpensive ceramic water filter costing less than US$20 can save a family more than US$350 on fuel for boiling water over the lifetime of the product. A US$30 fuel-efficient cookstove can save a family more than US$130 on cooking fuel over two years. These simple, affordable technologies pay for themselves many times over, but they are not reaching the people who need them the most through conventional supply chains.
DIV funding will directly benefit 50 micro-entrepreneurs and their families, and more than 11,000 people who will gain access to simple, affordable clean energy technologies including solar lamps, solar home systems, clean cookstoves and water filters.
Moreover, the recruitment, training and inventory management systems established under this grant will allow Kopernik to rapidly scale-up this clean energy micro-social-enterprise initiative, expanding to five provinces in eastern Indonesia over the next three years. This will create new business opportunities for almost 500 micro-social-entrepreneurs, primarily women, and make eco-friendly, money-saving technologies available to more than 280,000 people by 2017. Additional support worth more than US$800,000 over four years is being contributed by Energia Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and others.
These clean energy technologies will save families time and money, improve health and safety, ease pressure on the environment, and open up the range of activities that people can pursue at night. Kopernik will use impact-tracking technology, including SMS communications platforms, digital data collection apps and remote sensors, to verify the impact of this initiative.
Kopernik launched the Tech Kiosk network in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, in September 2013 with the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
About Kopernik: Kopernik is an Indonesia-based non-profit organisation connecting simple technology with last mile communities to reduce poverty. Since 2010, Kopernik has reached more than 215,000 people in 21 countries. For more information, visit http://kopernik.info or follow @thekopernik on twitter.
About USAID Development Innovation Ventures: USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an investment platform that finds, tests, and scales new solutions to development challenges around the world. Through a year-round open competition for ideas, DIV seeks ideas that demonstrate cost-effectiveness relative to traditional approaches, that gather rigorous evidence of their intervention’s impacts, and that have the potential to scale through the public or private sector without long-term DIV support. For further information about DIV, please visithttp://www.usaid.gov/div.
For more information, please contact:
Sally Bolton - Communications & Outreach, Kopernik
Email: sally.bolton at kopernik.info
New Award! Rwanda’s first PayGo solar power heads towards Success
Customer demand soars for affordable power
August 27, 2014: Azuri and GVEP International (Global Village Energy Partnership), recipients of a $1 Million award from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) to test their innovative Pay-as-you-go solar power model, are bringing clean, affordable electricity to off-grid rural communities in Rwanda, enabling customers to attain solar power for less than the cost of the kerosene it replaces.
The initial cost of a solar home power system is unaffordable to many of the 83% of Rwandans who have no access to grid electricity. As a result, many users rely on kerosene for poor-quality lighting and suffer both the inconvenience and cost of having to travel repeatedly to get mobile phones charged. Ordinary tasks such as homework and chores become difficult or impossible after dark.
Azuri and GVEP are working to change this with Pay-as-you-go Solar technology, providing affordable electrical energy to isolated communities within Rwanda, enabling users to charge their mobile phone within the home and benefit from 8 hours of lighting per day for just RWF 850/week ($1.25), compared with up to RWF3,500/week ($5) spent with alternative costs in kerosene and cell phone charging.
The programme aims to support the creation of local partners to deploy Azuri’s Indigo solar home systems in Rwanda and act as a pilot for deployment of future Pay-as-you-go solar lighting systems in off-grid communities in other countries. The project is on track to deploy 10,000 solar home systems this year.
The success over the last 6 month’s roll-out of Azuri’s Pay-as-you-go solar can be seen from both the high demand and awareness that the product has achieved, especially in the most rural off grid communities in Eastern and Northern provinces. Figures collected from Azuri show that from December 2013 to March 2014, these lights provided 376,950 hours of light, an average of 6 hours per day. The continuing demand and popularity of these solar products is testament to the strong distribution and sales teams working to raise the profile of this product.
In addition to the provision of solar home systems, over the last year, Azuri’s distributor dealer network, Serve and Smile, has received ongoing business training through the USAID grant as well as marketing support and advisory services. Currently, a total number of 16 solar dealers have received business, technical and commercial training and support from GVEP, including specific technical training on the Azuri product.
Azuri’s CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “The project in Rwanda has been an excellent example of how leading development agencies, NGOs and commercial organisations can join forces to bring transformational change to rural communities. It is particularly pleasing to see the role of women in the commercial process, bringing both employment to local entrepreneurs and delivering solar power to those at home who benefit most from the replacement of dangerous kerosene.”
Many of these entrepreneurs live in rural areas of Rwanda, thus allowing them to reach customers living in remote areas. This distribution network not only provides a benefit to the end users but also offers the entrepreneurs an opportunity of employment and enables them to acquire business, customer care and sales experience which they would otherwise have been unlikely to obtain.
Herbet Nyanga, GVEP country manager in Rwanda is positive about the work being carried out with Azuri and said: “GVEP is committed to raising both awareness and availability of solar products in Rwanda. Currently customers are not aware of the cheaper, more efficient lighting options on the market. We are confident that this partnership will go a long way in establishing defined distribution networks and a stronger awareness of these products.”
A Solar Agent’s Perspective
Mukankiko, previously a farmer in Northern Rwanda, often found it difficult to pay her ‘Mutuelle’ (social health insurance cover) for her family. Since becoming an agent she has distributed over 50 units and the payments for her Mutuelle are no longer a problem.
A Customer’s Perspective
The Indigo Pay-as-you-go solar was recommended to Twabeyeho by a neighbour in Rulindo. He purchased the system with two lights and phone charging capacities. He now has a light for his wife to use, one for use in the kitchen and bedroom and another so that his six children can carry out their homework after dark.
GVEP International is a non-profit organisation that works to increase access to modern energy and reduce poverty in developing countries. GVEP does this by helping to establish and grow micro, small and medium sized energy enterprises in poor rural and peri-urban areas, advising them on business and technical issues and helping them to secure the financial resources they need to grow. GVEP believes that this private sector-oriented approach is key to delivering benefits – access to clean energy, better quality of life and better economic opportunities – which are long-lasting.
GVEP works across Africa and the Caribbean. Its experienced executive team operates from regional offices as well as its London head office. GVEP’s Board includes a wide range of private sector and development agency specialists, experts and consultants from the arenas of renewable energy, international development, finance and investment.
For further information about GVEP, please visit http://www.gvepinternational.org/
For more press information please contact:
Alessandra Moscadelli, Communications Manager, GVEP
USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an investment platform that finds, tests, and scales new solutions to development challenges around the world. Through a year-round open competition for ideas, DIV seeks ideas that demonstrate cost-effectiveness relative to traditional approaches, that gather rigorous evidence of their intervention’s impacts, and that have the potential to scale through the public or private sector without long-term DIV support.
For further information about DIV, please visit www.usaid.gov/div
A new e-commerce platform, Shop Soko, is helping Kenyans access a lucrative international market.
From BizTech Africa:
"Local artisans can now sigh with relief with the launch of a mobile tool that is helping them source for the elusive but lucrative international market, thanks to a quick thinking innovator Ellan Peinovich.
The e-commerce platform dubbed Shop-Soko was established to link up the local artisans with the international markets. “Kenyans are very entrepreneurial and while doing my research here back in 2011, I realized that despite the best quality jewelries being produced by the artisans, they were still struggling to make ends meet mainly due to lack of strategic markets,” noted Ellan. The innovative youngster quickly devised a viable solution integrating the fast growing technology and internet revolution to link up international customers to the local artisans through an e-commerce platform hence the birth of www.ShopSoko.com.”
Read the Full Article Here: http://www.dailynews-ng.com/link/116041_shop-soko-connects-kenyan-artisans-to-lucrative-international-markets
DIV Job Board
Kickstart International is looking for a Partnership and Sales Officer in Kenya. Apply Now! http://kenyanjobs.blogspot.com/2014/08/kickstart-international-partnership-and.html
DIV SOCAP Spotlight: Eric Sorensen, Carbon Roots International
Carbon Roots International (CRI) supports a Haitian social enterprise that produces renewable green charcoal cooking briquettes from carbonized agricultural waste biomass. Green charcoal is a direct, “drop-in” replacement for traditional wood charcoal, requiring neither new stoves nor changes in cooking methods. The business model provides new income opportunities in the rural sector by sourcing raw material from small farmers and agricultural processors, linking this distributed supply chain with a centralized green charcoal production facility and distributing the product to BoP households through a network of women retailers.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Eric Sorensen’s career took a sharp turn away from the media world toward the world of international development when he co-founded Carbon Roots International. For the past four years Eric’s work with CRI has put him at the forefront of the sustainable charcoal revolution. Before learning the definition of social entrepreneur, Eric’s past job titles included: bartender, farm hand, carpenter, blog editor, filmmaker and sailor. He splits his time between Cap-Haitien, Haiti and Oakland, CA.