Meme Felicia smiles, cooking fresh cuts of meat and preparing chips in Oshikango market. She adds another cut of beef to the grill. Customers wait in line and point to the pieces of meat they want, and grab a piece of tripe to chew on while they wait for Felicia to prepare their order. Felicia serves up a plate full of food to a hungry customer, and he pays his bill and begins feasting.
What’s strange about this scene? Its hours after dark. A month ago, Meme Felicia would close her business at sunset because she didn’t have access to light.
Meme Felicia has prepared and sold food in Oshikango market for 4 years. There was no electricity at her business location, so she used candles to keep her business lit. The candles were placed above her so she could illuminate her working area, but wax from the candles would drip on the meat and customers complained. Even with the use of the candles, she would close her business around sunset because the candles could not provide enough light to operate during the night.
Last month, Felicia attended a solar light demonstration in Oshikango hosted by Elephant Energy. At the demonstration, Felicia learned about Elephant Energy’s solar product offerings, including the popular Sun King Pro. As the name suggests, Sun King Pro is powered by the sun. During the day, the Sun King Pro soaks up energy from the sun, and at night, it provides light and also charges cellphones. To those without light at night, it also provides an opportunity to extend activities after dark. And since all of Elephant Energy’s solar products come with a 1-year warranty, including the Sun King Pro, quality is guaranteed. “It didn’t take long for me to decide that this solar light would help my business,” said Felicia. She purchased the Sun King Pro from Elephant Energy a few days later.
She’s now been using the Sun King Pro for a month and in that month, she’s seen dramatic positive changes in her business. Because she no longer uses candles, she saves money on candle costs. The meat she sells is now wax-free and customers compliment her on the quality of the product. Felicia now graciously offers free cellphone-charging services for neighboring business owners. But most importantly, because her business area is now illuminated by the Sun King Pro’s light, she has been able to extend her operating hours so she can sell food to hungry customers hours after the sun has set. “Thanks to my new solar light and extended hours, I have tripled my daily profits,” Felicia exclaims.
Since she has extended business hours in Oshikango market, customers have taken notice and more people are coming to the area to eat at night. But it’s not just the hungry customers who have noticed – other women operating food stalls in the area have, too. Now, thanks to Felicia’s success due to her Sun King Pro, two other women have purchased Sun King Pros from Elephant Energy for their businesses and several other women are eager to buy them.
The two new Sun King Pro owners in Oshikango market have seen similar success with their businesses, saving money on candles, serving wax-free meat to customers and extending their business hours every night.
Udalikokule, one of the new Sun King Pro users, said she now works for hours after sunset thanks to the solar light and has doubled her income. While she’s only had the Sun King Pro for a few weeks, she’s already seen a difference. “I’ve been able to provide more food for my 3 children, invest more money into my business, and put the rest of the extra income into my savings account.”
Elephant Energy Sales Manager for Ohangwena and Omusati, Elizabeth Ndiyayele, hears success stories like these often. “We are a nonprofit with a social mission: we deliver affordable, high-quality solar products to people who need them the most, even to people in the villages. Elephant Energy saves customers money on candles and kerosene and lets entrepreneurs work during night hours when they couldn’t before. I love my job, and I love hearing that people are improving their lives with our solar products.”
Elephant Energy's WE Project successes are thanks to our remarkable network of women and supporters of women from the USA to Namibia. Thank you to our dedicated supporters, advocates, cheerleaders, and donors who make stories like Meme Felicia's possible.