To date, GVEP initiatives have provided over four million people with access to clean energy, and a wide range of technologies have been deployed, eg. improved cookstoves, solar lanterns and solar home systems, energy efficient briquettes and micro-hydro schemes.
Over the last five years, as a result of our activities:
- 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 have been saved through the use of renewable energy;
- $20 million has been leveraged to support the development of energy products and services across the developing world;
- over 3000 local energy jobs have been created in Africa and the Caribbean
Why? Because our programmes are not about giving away new infrastructures and equipment. By focussing on helping small and medium businesses selling good quality products and services at affordable prices GVEP is making a real difference for less: for every 2 euros spent another person is gaining access to energy.
Meet some of the entrepreneurs that GVEP has helped:
Briquettes: a safe and cost-effective cooking fuel
Norah Mukasa (right) is a GVEP trained briquette entrepreneur from Besoke, rural Uganda. Elivansoni Nakimbugure (centre) and Nob Kisakye (left) are two of her customers, who have experienced the benefits of using briquettes.
As Elivansoni explains, ‘At first I was using firewood but now I use briquettes. Using briquettes I can relax when I am cooking and don’t have to pay as much attention to the fire. Because they burn longer the food will keep warm for a long time.’ Elivansoni has a family of five to feed and would previously use around 4 bundles of firewood a week costing her around 8000 UGX ($3.42). With briquettes she uses around 3kg a week which only costs her 1500 UGX ($0.64). The money she saves on fuel she now uses for other household needs such as buying maize flour.
As well as cost savings cooking with briquette can bring health benefits compared to the use of firewood. ‘Briquettes don’t produce smoke and we can even put the stove inside the house’, Elivansoni explains, ‘Using firewood gives off a lot of smoke and I would have tears in my eyes and a pain in my head. Now my eyes are clear and my head feels normal. I tell my friends about briquettes’. See Norah's photo story.
From NGO to social business
Improved stoves and solar lanterns are affordable for many Kenyans. They save people money as well as having health benefits. John Maina is determined to make these products available to a wide number of people and he’s using commercial marketing methods to achieve this goal. John is the director of an NGO called SCODE based in Nakuru, Kenya, which is evolving into a social business.
SCODE has been in the energy sector for many years. John and his team have installed around 500 biogas units across Kenya and he also produces and sells improved stoves. Now he’s extending into selling solar-powered lanterns thanks to a loan from EcoBank which GVEP helped to facilitate. The loan from EcoBank enabled John to buy a small stock of lanterns to test in the market. These were an instant success. He sold 50 lanterns in 2 weeks, and is already ordering more. He stocks two sizes of lanterns: D-Light’s powerpack which sells at 6000 Kshs and the smaller Firefly from Barefoot Power, selling for 1600-1700 Kshs. The smaller lantern, which comes with a phone charger, is particularly popular. SCODE has a network of 15 local distributors who have been selling its stoves for some time. Now the same people are starting to stock the lanterns.
The EcoBank loan allows John to offer his distributors 30 days credit on 50% of the cost of purchasing stock. The other 50% has to be paid up front. The distributors also extend credit to some of their customers, giving them a little longer to find the money to complete a purchase. Because they know their customers the distributors are able to minimise any risk of non-payment. Customers also deal directly with SCODE. John has recently received an order from the Ministry of Health for 15 lanterns for rural health posts around Nakuru. The lanterns will make it much easier for the nurses to work at night. He’s confident he will get more such orders.
As well as facilitating the loan for SCODE through a partial risk guarantee, GVEP has been providing business advice and is helping SCODE develop a brand and professional marketing materials. The staff and distributors will all be trained in marketing in a bid to help them increase sales. The SCODE stoves are of high quality but are not branded, so they appear indistinguishable from poorer-quality stoves. More distinctive colouring and labels will in future help customers identify a SCODE stove. ‘We need to strengthen our sales and marketing,’ John says. ‘The training will be very useful. GVEP has helped us a lot.’ GVEP has been able to provide loan guarantee funds thanks to its partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation.
Fuel efficient stoves provide income opportunities for women in Tanzania
Getruda Ndungile is a 58 year old teacher from Ngudu in Kwiba district, Tanzania who after receiving business and technology training from GVEP's Developing Energy Enterprises Programme (DEEP) decided to expand her small cook stove business. Since then with further encourage and support from her business mentor her sales have steadily increased. She is now preparing to open up a second outlet in the town and employ someone to help her continue to grow the business.
Salma Alhumani cooks for a household of 12 people, from her home in Ngudu in Kwiba district, Tanzania. She purchased a kuni mbili energy efficient cook stove from Getruda Ndungile a GVEP entrepreneur who sells the stoves in the town. As Salma explains, ‘The stove is easy to use, it takes less time to cook and is portable’. Salma buys one bundle of firewood for 500 TZS ($0.32). Using her old stove one bundle would last for 1 day but using the kuni mbili stove one bundle will last for 3 days. See Getruda's and Salma's photo story.