Laban is an entrepreneur who works with a small team of socially minded partners to improve the lives of farmers throughout Kenya. His work involves building market linkages with suppliers of environmentally friendly products that are needed within local communities, and bringing them to areas with little access to these technologies. Over the last several years, Laban has brought access to sustainable energy and poverty-alleviating products to thousands of farmers who earn a living from growing flowers and raising livestock.
Laban's product line includes solar energy solutions as well as clean cook stoves, both of which are sold directly on farms and in open-air markets. Through local demonstrations, Laban's team engages local communities in understanding the positive aspects of solar when compared to traditional energy sources such as candles, kerosene, and disposable batteries. With years of experience selling a variety of solar products, Laban has built a reputation as a trusted reseller in his community.
Laban began working with One Degree’s team in Kenya in 2012 after hearing about BrightBox, a new solar energy kit that powers lights, phones, and radios. Since September 2012, Laban has already sold over 250 BrightBox systems to his customers. He already has requests for many more, which he would like to provide before the holidays. While happy with his initial success, Laban has been selling to farmers on a regular cash basis, while many others cannot afford to pay upfront. These same farmers are often stuck spending $10-$15 per month - a considerable portion of their income - on lighting and phone charging.
To break this cycle and make renewable energy accessible to these customers, Laban would like to start offering flexible payment terms to those who need it most, while also increasing his inventory on hand to serve more customers. He seeks support from Kiva lenders to make this happen.
Laban will use funds for 50 BrightBoxes, which will be used to energize and empower households across his region. Customers will be able to collect BrightBox systems immediately and pay for them upfront or over several months. Since they are currently spending money on polluting, unsafe, and inefficient energy, most will save enough to recoup costs in 4-5 months and never worry about fuel or fire again. With your help, Laban will help families eliminate energy expenses, improve safety, and allow their children to read into the night.
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.