Leader in Sustainable Development: Konrad App
The Full Interview
How to empower a community to grow education and bolster an economy with micro-leased portable solar chargers. Konrad App joins me today to discuss how Stima Systems has provided rural Kenyans at the base of the pyramid, people who live on less than 10 dollars per day, with an opportunity to thrive.
- base of the pyramid. 80% of people who live under 10 dollars/ day
- portable solar chargers become micro leasing chargers with a special security chip
- lease them to people who are at the bottom of the pyramid. people who live on 1 -2.50 dollars per day
- why franchise?
- these people spend 30% of their income on energy per day
- most energy is kerosene for light. which isn’t good for their eyes, their lungs, environment, and even worse on the wallet
- stima provides a way for these people to get modern tech without having to buy it
- @ 2.10 Elise Acheson – Why Kenya?
- James Kimisoi, head of justice and peace
- conflict created needs for
- current energy infrastructure
- startup cost is too high to justify buying solar chargers themselves
- much potential for solar development in kenya
- about 70% of the country has cell phones
- people will write their cell no. on their hut, because they’re so proud of it
- the cell phones are old, 7-8 years old.
- sometimes 5 people share a cell phone and have their own sim card. sometimes have more than one sim card
- @ 5.00 the past way of charging the cell phones
- it costs more money to have the phone on than it is to make the call
- cell phones vs land lines.
- because most people can not keep their cell phones on, when they try to call someone else… the recipient of the call wont receive it because they will have their phone off. note: not many land lines prevalent
- once the people have power to their phones, they will keep it on for set times
- children are often in the urban areas of mumbasa, and nairobi and will send money back through the phone.
- many people have jobs and need the cell phones for that
- how to build community with the solar chargers
- @8.00 the story of idea inception to where it is today
- initial 1000 solar chargers were donated
- some difficulties faced:
- if you make $1 – 2.50 per day. there are already practices in place where you would scrape the can to get the last kerosene out of it. when you lit the lamp, people would be gathered ready to read and use the light to its most efficient minute. daughters often go out to collect wood for lighting
- when you have an income that is closer to $5 per day, then energy is not a 30% of your income. you’re able to buy kerosene in bulk, or a hurricane lamp which is much more efficient
- keeping capital is the most important part
- at a certain income level at the base of the pyramid, its not possible to buy products. the only product in their hut will be a cell phone
- @ 14.15 women’s group example
- in the beginning of the group meeting, they all put in 20% of their income into the box. by the end of the meeting, they have to…
- @15.40 – whats next for Stima
- time based chip
- in 5 years projection. little over a million users primarily in Kenya
- Goal is to move towards in India
- womans groups are very popular in Kenya
- lots of blunders, but that is the best part! and the way to learn
- @19:30 -the need for other social enterprises to pop up.
- their main technology is the pay per use model.
- water is a big deal! in the mornings, girls walk out with empty jugs on their head, and come back with with water in the afternoon.
- cookstoves are needed as well.
- partnerships are a huge aspect in the african world. the only way to make a successful enterprise.
- @24.05… stumped…
- cell phones and lighting
- lighting is more important than their cell phone charging
- lights have a status symbol in kenya.
- if a family runs out of money, they do everything they can to light their lamp for an hour per night to show their still in business
- the clients love the cables! to show the electricity
- empowering girls’ education
- they are spending 50x more for the same activity, in terms of energy, agriculture, water and more… on an income drastically lower
- Kenya’s 42 tribes are very helpful to empowering people and bringing education up
About Konrad App
For the last three years the founders of Stima piloted ways to bring pay-per-use solar energy to the poorest communities in Kenya. They experienced first hand how power changes lives. A girl rose to the top of her class reading by LED light. A brick layer doubled his business by keeping his phone powered on. A user introduced the idea of group guarantee, which when implemented in trials, tripled collection rates within weeks. Another pilot user recruited 70 users from neighboring home villages and generated five times the average daily income from pilot commissions. These and other Base-of-Pyramid user innovations demonstrated a world of possibilities starting with the way to bring modern power to remote villages, while saving money and generating revenue for all parties involved.
Stima was founded to profitably address pervasive demand for affordable energy at the Base-of-Pyramid. Stima means “energy” in Swahili and “esteem” (where we get the word) in Latin languages, or, in other words, “power and empowerment”. We bring power to people and empower them to participate in the operation of our service, the recruitment of their fellow community members, and the formation of groups to co-guarantee payments.
At the Base-of-Pyramid people are held back by expensive energy and lack of financing: energy in rural villages costs 50 times more per unit than what you and I pay. The further kerosene travels from an urban center, the higher the cost. Efficient energy simply has not been accessible to the rural village. Even a $6 solar torch, which can reduce kerosene usage and pay for itself in a little over two months, is too much to pay for out-of-pocket.
The reason has to do with the second problem, the economics of poverty, which dictates that cash on hand is more valuable than spent, even on a solar product that can save in the long run. That is why billions of poor people still buy expensive kerosene daily.
The solution is to offer modern energy as a service; paid for in small amounts to fit rural spending habits.
There are 200 million rural families living in India and Africa at the ‘Bottom-of-Pyramid’ who could save money with Stima, enjoy brighter lighting and better phone access. That’s over a Billion people!