A loan of $4,650 helped to purchase cookstove products for sale to end users.

Alfones Communications Ltd's story

Alfones Communications Ltd is a business run by a couple called Alex and Juliet. They sell and market products and services to bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consumers.

Alfones targets people who are typically not reached by traditional marketing. They go directly to the consumer, as opposed to requiring them to visit their shop. Alfones’ products and services include mobile phones, mobile banking services, solar lights, and efficient cookstoves.

Alfones started selling Paradigm’s efficient firewood cookstoves in 2010. They saw it as a beneficial product for their customers, most of whom live in rural areas and cook over three-stone fires. This traditional cooking method produces large amounts of health-damaging smoke and is very inefficient, contributing to the deforestation that is destroying Kenya’s environment. Paradigm’s cookstoves reduce the toxic smoke a woman inhales by 70% and reduces the fuel needed to cook by up to 50%, saving families money and time spent buying or collecting firewood.

Alex and Juliet started Alfones together in 2005. Their storefront is located in the town of Sagana, Kirinyaga county, while most marketing is field-based with operations extending to Muranga, Laikipia, Naivasha, and Nakuru counties. Alfones employs ten full-time staff, seven of whom are female. Alfones reaches an estimated 24,000 people, over 95% of whom are women. Cookstove sales are strong and nowadays require Juliet’s full attention. Juliet and her sales agents are responsible for cookstove marketing and sales, while Alex continues manages the other aspects of the business.

Alfones currently offers its customers the ability to buy their cookstoves in three monthly installments. It has an almost perfect repayment rate as the groups they work with ensure proper repayment from its members. More customers are eager to purchase cookstoves, but Alfones struggles to raise enough low-interest capital to finance the cookstoves to allow more women to pay on credit. With a loan from Kiva, Alfones will be able to offer cookstoves to more women and offer better credit terms of four monthly installments instead of three.

With a Kiva loan of $4,650, Alfones will receive 300 fuel-efficient cookstoves from Paradigm and will offer its members improved financing terms to purchase a stove. This will make the stoves accessible to even the lowest income women in their customer base.

Help improve the health and financial stability of a rural family in Kenya today!

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