John is a Kenyan entrepreneur and non-profit leader. In 1996, John started Sustainable Community Development Services (SCODE), a national NGO that started as a community-based organization with an aim to enable the poor in Kenya to improve their lives by adopting environmentally friendly technologies. SCODE exists to facilitate adoption of clean energy technologies and sustainable land use approaches through capacity building, awareness campaigns, and last-mile product distribution. The organization has an office and community-training center in Kenya. Over the last 17 years, SCODE has established a track record of promoting solar energy, improving management of natural resources, and allowing low-income families to improve both their quality of life and carbon footprint. In 2006, SCODE won the prestigious Energy Globe Award for Sustainable Energy in recognition of its work with small-scale farmers across Western Kenya.
One Degree Solar started working with John in 2011 when introducing its first solar lighting product, during which time One Degree sent a summer intern to work with SCODE and begin developing an SMS tool to help monitor impact. SCODE was a natural partner with years of experience selling solar systems, clean cook stoves, and other life-improving products. SCODE now sells the One Degree BrightBox system, which powers up to four light bulbs, as well as mobile phones and radios. Currently, families spend significant portions of their incomes on kerosene, candles, phone charging services, and toxic dry cell batteries for radios.
SCODE has also developed an innovative Solar Energy Demonstration Project, which is intended to reassure consumers of the reliability of solar technology and to build local capacity for after-sales service. This targeted program helps to demystify the technology, localize it, and encourage more entrepreneurs and families to invest in it. The project trains local electricians on solar PV installation and maintenance, while ensuring end-users have knowledge of proper use and preventative maintenance.
John and his small team have sold over 200 BrightBox systems in the last few months, and they have several potential customers asking for systems without means of affording them. With your help, SCODE will be able to offer BrightBox with extended financing to low-income end-users who want to break the cycle of constantly buying polluting, unhealthy, and unsafe energy.
About One Degree Solar
One Degree Solar (ODS) is a for-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures and distributes micro-solar products to improve access to energy, entertainment, and information in low-income communities across Africa. It is distinguished by its sustainable business model, which not only gets products to the people who need them most, but also provides for after-sales customer care and support by using components, tools, mobile resources, and human knowledge that are already available in a majority of off-grid communities.
By supporting this loan, you are helping a One Degree Solar reseller buy inventory of solar products to reach even more remote customers who currently rely on toxic and expensive sources of energy like kerosene. With the loan, these resellers can offer financing plans to lower-income consumers who cannot afford to purchase products upfront.
ODS joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.