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Barefoot Power is a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to providing affordable solar lighting and phone charging solutions to low-income populations that do not have access to electricity. By manufacturing and selling their lights through a diverse network of distributors and retailers, Barefoot provides families and communities with a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to kerosene -- the lighting solution widely used by poor and low-income communities across the world.

Why replace kerosene? The poor burn USD$17 billion of kerosene each year in lanterns to light their homes. Kerosene is expensive, and the poor lighting from lamps makes it difficult for children to study and minimizes effective working hours for adults. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 300,000 deaths every year from burns, and nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year (approximately the number who are diagnosed with AIDS each year). In addition, more children die from 
respiratory illnesses caused by inhaling smoke and kerosene fumes in enclosed spaces than from tuberculosis or malaria.

In order to combat this energy poverty, Barefoot designs and manufactures a range of “micro-solar” lighting products that use long-lasting, white LED technology. Recognized for high quality and affordability, Barefoot’s products are now available in 75 countries, providing over 600,000 people with alternatives to kerosene.

Through Barefoot, Kiva is supplying loans to lighting distributors and retailers to help accelerate adoption amongst poor communities and help create more jobs. Because these loans are used to buy major shipments of product, they are often larger than the average loans on Kiva. Offered at zero-interest, this financing allows energy entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in centralized locations that have high upfront costs but higher sales volumes -- making an even bigger impact.

The partnership with Kiva will give Barefoot additional support to pursue its social objectives, including:

1) Access to electricity: Expanding access to 10 million people, or 2 million households, by 2015.

2) Job creation: Creating about 3,000 new energy entrepreneur jobs in local markets.

3) More studying: With light, students will have more hours to study, eventually leading to higher household incomes.

4) The end of kerosene: Households will save and reinvest money they would have spent on pricey kerosene -- and on medical bills for illnesses caused by its toxic fumes.

5) Saving lives: To save between 50 and 100 lives by 2013 by eliminating kerosene lamps. Between 15,000 and 40,000 people die every year from burns, often caused by kerosene. Women and children are the most common victims.

Barefoot also has several high-level environmental objectives, including the reduction of 300,000 tons of greenhouse gases by 2015, and the reduction of toxic battery disposal. It has already made headway in both areas.

The company has shown exceptional growth, driven largely by consumer demand. Today, it has three subsidiaries based in Kenya, Uganda and Hong Kong. Its primary barrier to expansion is funding, causing some gaps in its supply chain. The partnership to Kiva is helping to fill these gaps as Barefoot enters new markets.

Because Barefoot Power’s core business is not microfinance, there is some level of additional risk for lenders. Kiva’s partnership with the company is unique and unprecedented. For this reason, Kiva has not assigned the organization a risk rating.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva May 15, 2012 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $560,100 $686,715,700
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $712,975
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 484
Amount of Paying Back Loans $335,775 $129,556,225
Number of Paying Back Loans 17 143,978
Amount of Ended Loans $224,325 $556,446,500
Number of Ended Loans 10 694,308
Delinquency Rate 32.54% 6.33%
Amount in Arrears $99,202 $5,320,307
Outstanding Portfolio $304,906 $84,049,186
Number of Loans Delinquent 12 16,725
Default Rate 14.71% 1.10%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $33,000 $6,122,435
Amount of Ended Loans $224,325 $556,446,500
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 2 18,804
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.21%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $1,443,369
Refund Rate 0.00% 0.69%
Amount of Refunded Loans $0 $4,739,125
Number of Refunded Loans 0 5,265

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 21.43% 74.25%
Average Loan Size $20,004 $416
Average Individual Loan Size $21,491 $655
Average Group Loan Size $1,325 $1,838
Average number of borrowers per group 2 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,500 $3,378
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 1,333.57% 12.32%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 5.63 days 6.11 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $3,555.80 $68.08
  Average Loan Term 11.14 months 10.68 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 20 338,779
  Journaling Rate 57.14% 41.57%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.07
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.64

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2012 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 0% APR 36.00% PY 32.11% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 0.5% -1.96%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 56.00% 19.61%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

John Altmann
Adele Elhlou
Rick Hooper
Vish Patel
Steve Wright