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...
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

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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:

Apr 9, 2014

Spreading light in 2014...

Namibian brothers showing off their new products
Namibian brothers showing off their new products

Wow, friends! 2014 is off to an amazing start and I'm excited to share lots of great news with you–our dedicated partners. With your help, Elephant Energy Namibia started the year continuing to scale our solar product distribution model from one shop and fifteen rural sales agents in the Zambezi Region to an additional thirty-five businesses and sales agents across six additional regions in the country’s north. We brought on four new Regional Sales Managers who carried-out our first large-scale marketing campaign, with a focus on radio and a strategic ground campaign in towns and rural villages across the north. These two components, coupled with positive word-of-mouth endorsements, have been critical in establishing Elephant Energy as a trusted name in solar products, and in delivering products and educational information about solar energy to the critical “last mile” of off-grid, rural villages.

That said, going to scale with a business model targeted to poor customers and in a country with one of the lowest population densities of any country on earth has been no easy feat! Thanks to our incredible Project Manager, Adam Pearlman, and our exceptional team of Namibian staff leading our efforts on the ground, we have emerged from this expansion stronger than ever and are continuing to make an incredible impact on the lives of our clients and friends.

Speaking of our clients and friends, I want to share a few stories with you that I think really demonstrate our impact on the ground. Sylvia is from the Eshoke village and lives in a traditional stick hut with her entire family. One night, she woke up, smelled smoke and realized her house was on fire. A few years earlier, Sylvia lost her mother to a fire when her mother's house burned down while she was sleeping. Sylvia rushed to get everyone out of the house and managed to do so safely this time. Although everyone is safe, Sylvia now she suffers from smoke inhalation, which requires medical treatments. After the recent fire, Sylvia saw her neighbors using an Eco that they purchased from an Energy Entrepreneur. Her neighbors introduced her to an Elephant Energy Regional Sales Agent named Amelia, who sold Sylvia a Sun King Pro. Sylvia said she will never buy candles again, and has told her friends or family to make the switch to solar lighting.

In another instance, Frida Namene is a teacher in rural Oshikoto who used to pay people with cars to charge her cell phone. After purchasing a Sun King Pro from an Energy Entrepreneur, she now charges a fee to other people in her village who need to charge their phones, and she is making N$500 per month! Frida also invites all of the other teachers in the village over to her house to share her light while they mark papers together.

Your support has been instrumental in increasing safety and health, as well as improving the economic livelihoods of people in rural Namibia. Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of Elephant Energy. We look forward to continuing to update you as we keep changing lives in these underserved Namibian communities.

A happy customer
A happy customer

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