Pilot 2.0 – To new beginnings in Gwassi

After two eventful months, our pilot project in the Nyamira district has recently come to an end. Two local shop owners were able to try out our charging station, understand its advantages over current charging practices and also hear first-hand feedback from their customers. Despite some adjustments due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the pilot project was a great success and a fantastic learning experience for our team as well as for the people of Nyamira.

But our station does not get a breather! Our team member Lewis recently took it to Gwassi in the Homa Bay district, where the 27-year-old farmer James will rent it for the next 3 months. James heard about us through his friend Uncle James (yes another James). Uncle James happened to pass our station in Nyamira and it instantly caught his attention. He contacted our team and asked if the station could also be tested in Gwassi at farmer James’ house. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!

Farmer James (left) and our team member Lewis (right) found the perfect spot for our station in front of James’ house in Gwassi. (Photo: Mbegu Solar)

Farmer James is the sole breadwinner for his family of seven. From the little money he earns from farming, he pays school fees, food and agricultural inputs. With our station, James hopes to gain a sustainable income to support his family and raise their standard of living.

At the same time he wants his community to benefit from the station and bring development to Gwassi. At present, the people are struggling with reliable access to electricity. Many are not connected to the grid, and even those with grid access complain about regular power cuts, which forces them to recharge their telephone batteries in local charging shops. These stores often use fossil fuel generators and provide poor service to their customers.

Phone charging at local shops is common all over Kenya, but many complain about poor service. (Photo: Mbegu Solar)

With our station, James can finally provide a better charging experience to community members, improve his livelihoods and switch to clean and affordable solar energy. At the same time, we at Solar4Schools (Mbegu Solar) are excited to learn more about our customers, the challenges they are facing and how to improve our solution. It’s a win-win!

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