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...
Dec 31, 2014

What a year it's been!

This is Kaefine, Linekenla
This is Kaefine, Linekenla's brother

Happy New Year, friends and supporters!

As I reflect on some of our accomplishments this year, it becomes so clear to me that we wouldn't be able to do any of the work we do without you! Thank you for your unwavering support, for helping to make this year so amazing and for your commitment to bringing light to unelectrified places.

Since our last report, more exciting things have happened and we are closing the year out having made some amazing progress. First, we are very thrilled to announce that the first batch of divi-enabled Sun King Pro 2 lamps will be making its way to Namibia any day now, allowing us to begin pay-as-you-go sales of our most popular product. This new innovation will help us get lamps and cell phone chargers to the most remote communities in Namibia and will allow our entrepreneurs to greatly expand their reach and to help spread the gift of light. We have also grown our network of entrepreneurs to include over 60 individuals in eight regions. This incredible network has the potential to reach over 80% of the rural population in the country. Our Regional Sales Mangers and Senior Regional Sales Managers continue to do an amazing job of increasing awareness of the importance of renewable energy and of informing shopkeepers of the value that can come from carrying higher quality solar products, like those offered by Elephant Energy. This year, Elephant Energy has impacted over 30,000 individuals and we hope to impact even more in 2015! 

We recently heard a story about Linekenla, who purchased a light from Elephant Energy and is now able to complete household chores long after the sun goes down. He and his brothers use the light to cook and to do dishes after dark. Their family used to rely on paraffin wax candles for indoor lighting, but they had to stop using the candles because the fumes were so bad. Now that they have a Sun King Pro 2, they can cook, wash dishes and study safely in their home.

We also learned that one of our Regional Sales Managers was unable to take customer photos in December because the majority of her entrepreneurs are making sales in the most rural corners of Namibia and it's hard for her to collect stories and photos after the sales! While we would love to be able to share photos from these communities, I think it's important to think about the fact that we don't have these stories because of the extreme situations these families are living in...And yet, our entrepreneurs are able to reach them and to help them create safer, cleaner, more efficient homes.

We have bold wishes and dreams in 2015, but I'm confident that with your help, we will accomplish all we set out to accomplish! We know you have so many choices each time you make a gift and we are so grateful that you have chosen Elephant Energy as one of your gifts in 2014. We hope you will consider sharing our information with a friend, colleague or family member during this giving season; and we hope you will re-pledge your support for Elephant Energy in 2015.

Wishing you and your family the best in 2015.
With light,

Julia Alvarez
Executive Director

Linekenla, cooking outside
Linekenla, cooking outside
An entrepreneur showing off her new light
An entrepreneur showing off her new light
Dec 2, 2014

We've done so much together...

Adrian, teaching a Navajo elder about his light!
Adrian, teaching a Navajo elder about his light!

Ya'at'eeh!

It's hard to believe that the year is winding down, but here we are in December. Last time I wrote to you, I was in Namibia, meeting with our team and getting my head fully wrapped around the amazing work you support. Since then, I have spent a couple of months in Colorado and have spent another week on the Navajo Nation. As I reflect back on 2014, I'm amazed by our organizational and programmatic growth, and by the work that we have done in partnership with you. This year, we have distributed over 2,000 solar lights/cell phone chargers in Namibia and the Navajo Nation, we have equipped 23 schools with solar light lending libraries, and we have brought on a new cohort of Sales Managers–of whom half are women. All of the accomplishments would be impossible without you and we are so thankful for you continued support and generosity.

As the year draws to a close, so does our entrepreneurs program in the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation. As such, I want to take an opportunity to introduce Shirlene, our primary entrepreneur in Gallup, New Mexico, who has been working in close partnership with Adrian, our Program Manager, to launch her clean energy enterprise. At the end of December, Shirlene will graduate from our entrepreneurs program, will finalize her NM business license, will be connected directly to our manufacturers and will launch her own, independent clean energy business! Shirlene will continue to sell small-scale solar products throughout the Eastern Agency, but rather than doing it through Elephant Energy, she will be operating as her own small business! We are very much looking forward to watching what Shirlene accomplishes in this new capacity.

According to our customers, Elephant Energy's small-scale solar products are continuing to allow children to stay in school and complete their evening studies, are supporting small-business owners who can stay open later and earn more revenue, and are facilitating communication between family members in distant communities. We have come a long way together, but we also recognize there is a long way to go!

December is a season of both giving and giving thanks around the world. We appreciate your willingness to support us in the past and to help celebrate this new season, there are many ways to get involved with Elephant Energy. Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, and next week is #ColoradoGivesDay, a day dedicated to Colorado-based philanthropy! We hope you will consider renewing your support of our work to bring clean, sustainable, affordable energy to rural communities in Namibia and the Navajo Nation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Julia Alvarez, Executive Director

Shirlene, our Eastern Agency entrepreneur
Shirlene, our Eastern Agency entrepreneur

Links:

Oct 3, 2014

We're growing...Thanks to you!

Johana and Rauna, showing off their lights!
Johana and Rauna, showing off their lights!

Hello friends,

Wow, what a summer it's been! I'm currently settling in and readjusting to life in Denver after a wonderful month visiting our staff and programs in Namibia. Our team on the ground is doing amazing work and is growing everyday! Despite the fact that this project is not quite fully funded, we have increased our sales network dramatically and now have 37 energy entrepreneurs working with us to distribute clean, affordable and sustainable energy products throughout rural Namibia. 

Thanks to your support, they are receiving training and being equipped with enough initial stock to jumpstart their entrepreneurial approach to energy sales. Our energy entrepreneurs work in six regions of Namibia and are responsible for helping us distribute hundreds of solar lamps each month. In addition to our standard products, this month we are very pleased to announce that our newest innovation, the diviLite–Elephant Energy's new take on pay-to-own solar–is now readily available in four of our regions, with expansion into the final two scheduled to occur in October or November. It is our hope that this new lamp, which will soon be joined by a pay-to-own version of the Sun King Pro 2 (our best selling and most popular light in Namibia), will greatly increase our reach to the most rural communities in Namibia. These new lamps offer financing schemes that allow customers to pay for products in installments as small as USD$2.50 a week for a period of eight weeks, at which point the lamp becomes "unlocked" and remains useable for the life of the lamp. We are thrilled about these new innovations and we will keep you informed as we continue to field test the products and perfect the financing process. 

In the meantime, here are some stories from the field, illustrating the impact you are having in some of the most rural communities in Namibia:

First, Johana and Rauna are both second-year students at Rundu Vocational Training Centre (RVTC). They both saved money from their job placements in order to buy Sun King Pro 2 lamps so they are able to study in the event of power outages at the campus or during holidays, since their villages have no electricity.

Second, Martha, who is a happy supporter of Elephant Energy! She said she has a solar system at home that cost her NAD$2000.00 (roughly USD$200) from a local shop, but even this expensive system doesn't meet her needs! Martha's current system cannot charge cell phones, nor is it portable–which is problematic because Martha loves to travel. This summer, an Elephant Energy entrepreneur introduced her to the Sun King Pro 2, which she purchased, and Martha now says that: “now my demand is met by EE,“ and "now I can travel with my SKP2 in my hand bag where ever, whatever–providing lighting and charging cell phones." 

Finally, I'd like to introduce Romanus. He used to rely on candles and batteries for lighting in the house and charging cellphones. According to Romanus, he used to spend a lot of money buying candles, batteries and even on charging his cell phone. In May 2014, he purchased his first Sun King Pro 2 from Veronica, an Elephant Energy  entrepreneur, and since May he has saved twice the price of the SKP2! He used his savings to invest in buying two SKP2s, which he decided to give to his mother-in-law and to his sister-in-law, both of whom live deep in the off-grid area. He believes the lights are going to have major impacts on both of their lives. Romanus' main source of income is a disability grant from the government and he also has a small shop at home selling snacks.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support of and interest in our work. Your investment is going a long way towards reducing energy poverty in rural Namibia and we couldn't do what we do without you. We hope you will consider Elephant Energy as you make your yearend giving decisions and please feel free to share this report and our project information with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors! 

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me! Talk to you again soon.

In light,

Julia

Martha, happy with her new all-in-one solar light
Martha, happy with her new all-in-one solar light
Romanus and his light
Romanus and his light

Links:

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