In October the Stiftung Solarenergie – Solar Energy Foundation started with Anuel Energy the Community Energy Entrepreneur project (C.E.E.) which is a unique tool designed to tackle the youth unemployment problem as well as the energy poverty.
In Uganda – like in other developing countries – the people are poor but they are not indigent. For instance small business, road-side vendors in Uganda – mostly run by women – spend on average 50-100 USD per year on kerosene to light their business. This source of light is not very effective besides being very unhealthy and dangerous. These expenses they could instead use for solar lightning: Solar energy is able to provide relief in various ways. It gives the local business operators the chance to get reliable light, their working environment is healthier, their working hours are more flexible with reliable light after darkness and on the long run, they save money.
The C.E.E. concept
With the new program C.E.E. selected youths will be trained to distribute solar products to a target population of 10,000 women and youth engaged in evening roadside vending/merchandising in Kampala, Wakiso, Entebbe & Mukono district markets through an acceptable installment repayment of 2-3 months using the Airtel Money platform.
C.E.E.s sell lanterns to this target population through the Revolving Fund scheme. The installments which are collected from the target population are used to buy the next solar products for the program. This makes the concept revolving.
Beyond replacing kerosene lamps the program also is a good entry point for the C.E.E. agents to start a small business as it opens up their entrepreneurial minds and helps them understand the concept from the onset. It gives them an opportunity to become familiar with the market, gain selling/marketing skills, strengthen and enhance these skills in themselves and, finally be able to apply them in their own businesses.
Harald Schützeichel, director of the Stiftung Solarenergie, explains that is one of the countries with youngest age structure in the world: “There is a huge potential but at the same time Uganda’s youth need opportunities in order to prosper. Here the C.E.E. project just seems perfect.”
The financing model of the revolving fund which the Stiftung Solarenergie has realized very successfully in its other partner countries is a very good solution to obtain a solar system for everybody.
Frank Neil Yiga, CEO and Founder of Anuel Energy, adds “In order to drive Uganda forward we have to concentrate one the one hand on the youth on the other hand we have to take the potential of businesses run by women serious and support them to develop them further. The Stiftung Solarenergie with its longstanding experience is the perfect partner for taking action in Uganda and start the CEE project.”
Revolving Fund is part of Sendea
C.E.E. is also part of new Sendea program of Stiftung Solarenergie – a new and unique network to support independent solar companies in developing countries. Sendea empowers the “missing middle”: Small and medium enterprises are a fundamental part of the economic in developing countries, and they play a crucial role in furthering growth, innovation and prosperity. (www.sendea.org).
Stiftung Solarenergie is a leading pioneer in off-grid electrification of developing countries. The foundation started in 2004 and follows a holistic approach to ensure financial and social sustainability. Long-term goal in each partner country is to establish a sustainable solar business.
Stiftung Solarenergie is active in Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Uganda and the Philippines. More than a million people have benefited from the work of the foundation so far. The Foundation has received several international awards for this concept of sustainable village development, most recently in 2013 when it received the Energy Globe Award the second time. (www.solar-energy-foundation.org)
Anuel Energy is a start-up in the renewable energy sector. The company is founded on the premise that solar energy is the future of Africa’s growing energy need and focuses on customer tailored solar energy solutions for households, commercial and institutional establishments. (www.anuelenergy.com)