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RepTICE : Solar Mamas Kasai Occidental project

Kananga, Kasai Occidental province, Congo (Kinshasa)Kananga, Kasai Occidental province, Congo (Kinshasa)
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

What is the Solar Mamas energy project in the Kasaï province about?
Alternative energy: Solar electrification in rural villages in central DRCongo by Semiliterate Mothers and Grandmothers currently being trained for six months at the Barefoot College, India.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the girls and women could take the lead in bringing light to Africa ?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In rural DRCongo, 95% of people have no light when the sun goes down. 50% of them are girls and women. Children cannot study, people cannot work or socialize. The cost of bringing mains electricity to remote villages is beyond the capability of most communities. Simply charging a cell phone requires that they walk a distance of 15 km for access to power.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

A woman from the poorest of villages is given six months training in skills such as building, installing and repairing solar lamps, panels and waterpumps without requiring from her the ability to read or write. On her return she will assemble and install the 250 solar kits provided by Barefoot College for the local villages. Training of women only, was deliberately chosen as they are more likely to return to the villages and stay. This new employment possibility specifically empowers women. Maintenance of the solar installations is financed by a monthly charge decided by the villagers. A second phase to the project will ensure a sustainable business opportunity for the women, plus, having light will enable villagers to be more productive.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Educational impact : “When I needed to study to move onto the next grade, I just used candles to study at night. Candles are expensive for our families. But we had no choice when I had to study" says on school boy. In the Kasai province children mortality is 95%. This is mostly due because of a lack of on time assistance to the mothers. If a pregnant woman needs asssitance to deliver the baby, and there is no electiricity at the health center, she will have to wait, or the family has to buy petrol for the generator. Knowing that the petrol is very expensive her or the baby will die in the next 48 hours. Social impact: charging telephones is a hassle. Big walking distances are comm, and urgencies have no place in this area.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

86 % of the population is rural. Social: On return to her village each woman will assemble solar panels to produce electricity for up to 50 households (10 people per family=500 people), besides feeding a school (average 650 students), a health center facility. New employment opportunities for young people charging the mobile phones of the entire community (1 to 5000 people). the villagers will pay maintenance rates to the solar engineer. Night classes can be set up. Health: Smoke from candles, charcoal and wood fires are a major source of indoor air pollution, resulting in respiratory illnesses. (The World Bank reports that 1.6 million people, mainly children, who live in Africa die due to diseases related to indoor air pollution). Assistance will be given to pregnant women, improving the pregnancy rates.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

On their return to DRC, the ladies will be training other women on solar technology.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

New installations will be purchased as kits of parts. The assembly and installation of these kits will provide a sustainable income for the ladies whilst ensuring a competitive purchase price for buyers. New buyers will also be supported by the introduction of a micro financing scheme. The impact of the above is that this project can grow and be continuously replicated in other villages in the Kasai Province with minimal further funding.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Creating a woman-to woman powered distribution system for solar technology and building the field of Social Businesses. Also in partnershiping with local businesses, by providing training to women and high-quality products, end-users will experience the many benefits from solar energy that they could not fully access previously.


Maria (N'Samba) Teixeira - Project Manager Elie Mputu - Project coordinator - part time Each village has a comitee of 5 people, including the chief of the villlage Over the months the solar engineers will train between 5-10 women