A loan of $29,450 helped to buy solar lamps that they will sell in their communities.


Avec-Mali's story

Watch a video to learn more about AVEC-Mali!

AVEC-Mali is a women’s association based in Mopti, Mali with 74 members. The association engages in a variety of activities, such as selling clean cookstoves, teaching women to read and write and educating women about family planning.

In July, nine women from the association starting selling solar lamps (seven of them are featured in the photo). As of the end of September they sold 1,200 lamps and they have ambitious plans to grow the sales.

Korotoumou (fourth from the left) is one of nine members of AVEC-Mali who sell solar lamps. She is 47 years old and has six children. In addition to her work with the women’s association, Korotoumou is the matron at a health center in Mopti, and she sells grains. In July, she started selling solar lamps to fisherman, students and farmers, who are reliant on kerosene and flashlights for light. With a solar lamp, her customers can save money. Kerosene and mobile phone charging currently cost about $110 per year; whereas, a solar lamp costs $25 and has a lifetime of about five years. These solar lamps provide 8 hours of light and can charge a mobile phone.

On top of being less expensive, solar lamps are more durable and reliable and keep people from stealing mobile phones. “With a solar lamp, you don’t have to go to a mobile phone charging station and give your phone to someone who may steal your phone or use the call credit you have on your phone,” says Korotoumou.

Selling solar lamps provides income for the women and for the association. The women earn $2 for every lamp they sell and the association earns $3. The money the association earns is invested in a warehouse to store solar lamp inventory and motorcycles to distribute the products.

The solar saleswomen are well organized – each responsible for her own sales territory. They educate their communities about the benefits of solar lights and generate lamp sales through group meetings and demonstrations at night.

Since customers cannot afford to pay for the lamps up front, the women need working capital. A Kiva loan will allow the solar saleswomen to obtain solar lamp inventory from NOTS Lampe Solaire on credit. When they receive payment from their customers they will re-pay the Kiva loan.



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