Solar Kiosks – Lighting Lives Across Rural Madagascar
Solar power can truly transform lives. The proof lies in projects such as HERi Madagascar, which is slowly but surely reshaping energy access in rural pockets of the country.
Based on the model of “energy kiosks”, run entirely by women, the initiative sells or rents out solar energy powered electrical devices to villagers who need electricity. The products are designed to be efficient and affordable, and all manner of devices are available – including solar lamps, solar home lighting systems, USB chargers, fridges, blenders, printers and even LED TVs.
How the Solar Kiosks are Changing Lifes
The women who run these kiosks are locally recruited, and they stock their supplies as per demand from the local villages. Products are rented out for varying lengths of time, and in running the project, the women have gained not just stable employment, but also basic entrepreneurial skills.
HERi Madagascar currently serves 12,000 people spread across 100 villages and across the capital city, Antananarivo. It currently operates 19 kiosks. Plans are to expand to 150 kiosks by 2017. It has so far provided direct employment to 71 individuals, and rents out nearly 1,200 lamps every day. The initiative is supported by the European Union.
The importance of HERi’s devices – especially the solar lamps and lighting systems – is that they help eradicate the basic problems that most un-electrified villages face: studying and security after dark (especially for women).
Also, women renting the PV home lighting systems lamps have benefited in terms of healthier indoor operating conditions, as they no longer have to rely on kerosene for their lighting needs.
To read more about HERi Madagascar’s project, click here.