Elephant Energy

Mission: To improve the quality of life in developing communities by pioneering ventures that provide access to appropriate sustainable energy technologies. Vision: Light in every home, clean air in every kitchen, power in every hand...
Sep 5, 2014

Inspiring change across two continents...

Our team in Namibia!
Our team in Namibia!

Greetings friends and supporters,

Two weeks ago, I arrived in Namibia for a month-long visit with our staff and our Sales Agent team. I have not stopped smiling since I arrived. Since our last report to you, we have hired several new Regional Sales Managers in Namibia–Including an inspiring woman named Anna who is putting her degree in sales and management to good use with Elephant Energy, and we are ramping up the divi trial, using pay-to-own lights to increase our reach in very rural communities. We have also started distributing lights for solar light libraries in schools where students lack access to energy and we have fully expanded to serving eight regions throughout Namibia! In the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Women's Energy Project launched the first online edition of its 'zine, we brought on a fabulous new entrepreneur who is working with her daughter to jumpstart our program in Gallup, New Mexico and Adrian Manygoats (our amazing Program Manager) has visited fairs, art walks, pow wow's and swap meets throughout the region to talk about Eagle Energy and the important role of clean energy in saving money and lives! Needless to say, it's been a busy and exciting few months and I'm so honored to be here to see our progress on the ground. All that said, I'll also give you fair warning that this might be a Namibia-heavy report...I can't help it! I wake-up here these days!

Since arriving in the country, I have had the opportunity to participate in a staff meeting where we promoted two of our staff members–Theo and Elizabeth–to Senior Regional Sales Manager status. As such, I want to take a moment to celebrate Elizabeth, who has been with Elephant Energy for two years–almost since we started in Namibia. She has two young children and has been managing all sales and programming in the Ohangwena and Omusati Regions of Northern Namibia. In her regions, she manages a team of 14 sales agents who travel to rural communities to distribute light. She also partners with several retail shops–equipping them with solar products and helping them make solar part of their regular, daily sales. Elizabeth is an inspiring leader and since joining the Elephant Energy team, she has mentored, coached, supported and trained several of our Regional Sales Managers and several Sales Agents. According to Elizabeth, she loves working for Elephant Energy because of how it changes and impacts the community, not only because of what it does for her and her family.

The last two weeks have also opened my eyes to why our work is so, incredibly important. At our staff meeting, we were talking about the benefits of solar and half of the staff members could share stories from their own villages of houses burning down and people dying from the use of candles and fires in the home. In fact, as we were driving after sunset to Caprivi–the Eastern region where we got our start–I was floored by the fact that we would drive through entire villages with no light except that of the fires burning in cooking huts or on roadsides. Our Regional Sales Managers are more excited than ever to continue spreading light in thie country. In fact, one of our Managers has been talking with a potential customer who is looking to buy a Sun King Pro II for his mother, who can only charge her cell phone once a week right now because of the lack of charging stations in and around her village. With a Sun King Pro II, she will be able to charge her cell phone anytime it is low, allowing her to be in closer contact with her son, who lives 7 hours away by car/bus.

As I hope you can sense, and as I've been able to see, our work is changing lives and I can't thank you enough for your generous support. By the end of this year, our team on the ground in Namibia and the Navajo Nation will have distributed thousands of solar lights to school children, individuals and families in two countries. We will have empowered a network of six Regional Sales Managers who are overseeing nearly 45 Sales Agents and Retail Shops and we will have continued to change lives. We know you have many choices with where you invest your money and we are honored that your decided to invest in us! We will continue to keep you informed as our work progresses and we hope you will keep us–and our important work–in mind every time you switch on a light, you cook (safely) on your stove, you laugh with you family while playing a game or watching TV after the sun goes down, or as you continue to work or study after dark.

Thanks again for helping us continue to share the light. 

Sincerely,
Julia Alvarez
Executive Director   

This is Elizabeth!
This is Elizabeth!

Links:

Jul 7, 2014

Updates from Namibia! How YOU are changing lives

Cell phone charging entrepreneur!
Cell phone charging entrepreneur!

Greeting, friends and supporters!

If you are at all like me, I imagine you are spending time each evening marvalling at and celebrating these late summer sunsets and the fact that we have light so long into the evenings. Think about how much you are able to get done in these long evenings–gardening, grilling, walking, working, studying, enjoying time with your family. Now think, for just a moment, about how different your life would be without these late evenings–or, without light in your home. This is the reality for so many people around the globe. People in the communities we partner with have no choice but to close businesses and stop studying early because of a lack of light. But with your support, we are impacting these communities, bringing clean, affordable light and changing lives! Since our last report, we have experienced some new developments. First, we bid an emotional farewell to Katie Murphy, our fearless leader, who retired from her position as Executive Director at Elephant Energy. Katie helped our programs launch, grow and become sustainable and we miss her! That said, my name is Julia and I could not be more proud to be serving as Elephant Energy's new Executive Director. Second, we welcomed a new Program Director to the Elephant Energy team. Chris Fry has joined us to oversee and manage our programs in both Namibia and the Navajo Nation. Reporting from Namibia as I write, Chris will re-join the Denver team in a matter of weeks. Third, with the help of funding from the United States Agency for International Development (and supporters like you!) we have started pilot testing a very exciting new technology in Namibia that we hope will truely revolutionize small-scale solar in our last-mile communities. We are very excited to see where this goes and we will keep you all posted.

Finally, no update would be complete without some stories from the field! Our photos below are of a happy Elephant Energy customer who makes around 500–600 Namibian dollars a week (US$46–55) by charging other peoples' cell phones at 5 Namibian dollars per home. Using his Sun King Pro 2, he can charge about 15–20 phones a week, and he is using this added income to supplement his family earnings. The next photo is of a Namibian student who can now study for school at home, under the light of the Sun King Pro 2 that his family purchased from an Elephant Energy sales agent. Finally, there is a photo of another Elephant Energy customer who uses her lamp to cook safely at home after finishing her job as a nurse.

As you can see, together we are impacting the economic, educational and health outcomes of rural poor customers throughout Namibia. We can't do what we do without you! Thank you for supporting our work, for telling your friends about us and for helping impact lives in Namibia.

Sincerely,

Julia Alvarez

P.S., If you live in the Denver area, we invite you to come celebrate a great year at our summer Barnraiser on July 23! More information can be found here: http://bit.ly/1gBDhWl

Student studying under the SKP2
Student studying under the SKP2
Nurse who can now cook safely at home after dark
Nurse who can now cook safely at home after dark

Links:

Jun 3, 2014

Women...changing the world

Installing a solar light
Installing a solar light

Hello friends!

With the Summer Solstice just a few weeks away, it seems there is no better time to celebrate the light in our lives! With your help and support, Elephant Energy has been able to continue to equip people around the globe with access to clean, affordable and life changing light and power. The support we received for this particular project has also helped us increase the number of women entrepreneurs we partner with in Namibia and the Navajo Nation. Access to capital that can be used to jump start clean energy enterprises is helping women in these communities earn money for their families.

Here are a few stories from our partners in the field:

  • Frida Namene is a teacher in rural Oshikoto, Namibia. She used to pay people with cars to charge her phone, but after purchasing a Sun King Pro from an Elephant Energy entrepreneur, she is now able to charge her phone at home–and to charge cell phones for other people in the village. She currently charges people a fee to charge their phones–and she is making N$500 per month. In addition to helping her generate additional income, Frida uses her light to build community by inviting all the other teachers in the village over to her house to share her light while they mark papers together. With the help of her Sun King Pro, Frida is increasing her income and helping build community in her village and with her co-teachers.
  • Maria Lipimge is a chief environmental officer at Etosha National Park. Maria and her colleagues camp out often throughout the park. One night, elephants were about to trample their campsite when she pulled out the Sun King Pro she purchased from an Elephant Energy entrepreneur. The light scared the elephants away and kept her and the other environmentalists safe...Her colleagues are now all saving up to buy their own Sun King Pros.
  • Colleen Biakeddy is one of our entrepreneurs on the Navajo Nation. When we met with her in April, she told us that serving as an energy entrepreneur in the Navajo Nation has helped her connect with her neighbors and has given her a sense of helping her community grow and thrive.
This year promises to be full of excitement, growth and community development. We are thrilled to have you as a partner and friend and we look forward to continuing to share our progress with you as this project unfolds.
If you are interested in learning more about our work, check out our website and follow us on social media!
Thanks again for being our partner in sharing light with communities across the globe.
Until next time,
Julia Alvarez
Enjoying their new light!
Enjoying their new light!

Links:

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