A loan of $7,500 helped to pay for solar energy systems and offer financing plans to lower-income farmers.

Joyce's story

Joyce is an entrepreneur who works with a small team of socially minded partners to improve lives for farmers throughout Kenya. Her work involves training farmers and building market linkages with suppliers of environmentally friendly products that are needed within local communities. Over the last several years, Joyce has worked with thousands of low-income farmers that grow tea, coffee, flowers, and vegetables. She started Boma Safi Limited to support the many farmers who lack access to sustainable energy and products that alleviate poverty.

The Boma Safi product line now includes solar energy solutions, as well as clean cookstoves, water purifiers, and women's health products. These goods are sold directly on farms, as well as in rural open-air markets and two small shops that Joyce now operates. Boma Safi (meaning "clean home" in Swahili) has quickly built a reputation as a trusted voice in the East African Fair Trade community.

Joyce leads a small team that conducts workshops on farms across Kenya, demonstrating 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, Joyce began working with One Degree’s team in Kenya in 2012 after collecting feedback from farmers about BrightBox, a new solar energy kit that powers lights, phones, and radios. During workshops, farmers would exclaim "stima!" - meaning electricity - when seeing BrightBox lights in action, and Joyce knew she found a winning solution.

Since September 2012, Joyce has already sold hundreds of BrightBox systems to farmers. She already has requests for many more, which she would like to provide before the holidays. While happy with her initial success, Joyce has been selling to farmers on a regular cash basis, while many others cannot afford to pay upfront. These same lower-income farmers are sadly stuck spending $10-$15 per month - a considerable portion of their income - on lighting and phone charging.

To break this cycle and provide renewable energy to these farmers, Joyce would like to start offering flexible payment terms to those who need it most. She seeks support from Kiva lenders to make this happen.

Joyce will use funds for 150 BrightBoxes, which will be used to energize and empower farming households across the region. Farmers will be able to collect BrightBox systems immediately and pay for them 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, Joyce will help farming families eliminate energy expenses, improve safety, and allow their children to read into the night.

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