AVEC-Mali is a women’s association based in Mopti, Mali with 74 members. The association engages in a variety of activities, such as selling clean cookstoves, teaching women to read and write and educating women about family planning.
In July, nine women from the association starting selling solar lamps (seven of them are featured in the photo). As of the end of September they sold 1,200 lamps and they have ambitious plans to grow the sales.
Korotoumou (fourth from the left) is one of nine members of AVEC-Mali who sell solar lamps. She is 47 years old and has six children. In addition to her work with the women’s association, Korotoumou is the matron at a health center in Mopti, and she sells grains. In July, she started selling solar lamps to fisherman, students and farmers, who are reliant on kerosene and flashlights for light. With a solar lamp, her customers can save money. Kerosene and mobile phone charging currently cost about $110 per year; whereas, a solar lamp costs $25 and has a lifetime of about five years. These solar lamps provide 8 hours of light and can charge a mobile phone.
On top of being less expensive, solar lamps are more durable and reliable and keep people from stealing mobile phones. “With a solar lamp, you don’t have to go to a mobile phone charging station and give your phone to someone who may steal your phone or use the call credit you have on your phone,” says Korotoumou.
Selling solar lamps provides income for the women and for the association. The women earn $2 for every lamp they sell and the association earns $3. The money the association earns is invested in a warehouse to store solar lamp inventory and motorcycles to distribute the products.
The solar saleswomen are well organized – each responsible for her own sales territory. They educate their communities about the benefits of solar lights and generate lamp sales through group meetings and demonstrations at night.
Since customers cannot afford to pay for the lamps up front, the women need working capital. A Kiva loan will allow the solar saleswomen to obtain solar lamp inventory from NOTS Lampe Solaire on credit. When they receive payment from their customers they will re-pay the Kiva loan.
More information about this loan
This Kiva loan will be used to provide borrowers with needed goods or services, as opposed to cash or financial credit. This loan will be delivered in the form of solar lamps to a women's association through NOTS Lampe Solaire, a solar lamp importer. The association will distribute the lamps to its members, who will sell them to consumers at a profit. This will enable them to earn an income while helping other households replace dangerous and dirty kerosene lamps with safe, clean solar lamps. Households that obtain solar lamps generally save between $60 to $100 a year on kerosene costs, also boosting their economic situation. Because this inventory of lamps is very expensive, NOTS Lampe Solaire will wait to receive Kiva lenders' funds before delivering them to the womens' association. Accordingly, the disbursement date on this loan is an estimate. If the association repays on time, then 0% interest will be charged. A 25% APR penalty will be charged on any funds repaid late. Lamp prices for end consumers are fixed and advertised by NOTS Lampe Solaire to help ensure optimal access to clean lamps for as many households as possible.
About NOTS Lampe Solaire
NOTS Lampe Solaire is a for-profit social enterprise launched in 2011 that sells and distributes solar lamps, aiming to replace all kerosene lamps in Mali with clean, safe solar alternatives by the end of 2016. Kiva loans are used by distributors and women’s associations to purchase solar lamps on credit that they can then sell in their local communities at a profit to improve their livelihoods.
By replacing kerosene lamps, solar lamps make homes safer and more productive mreduce air pollution, facilitate convenient mobile phone charging, and provide households with savings on energy costs of $60 to $100 a year per lamp.