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Earlier this year, EcoZoom and crowdfunding partner TRINE visited the Loldia Farm in Naivasha (run by our partner Mara Farming), to meet women who are using EcoZoom solar products in their homes.
The three ladies that we met (Anne, Selina and Emily), all work on the farm and live in the neighbouring town called Kasarani.
Loldia Farm is located on the North side of lake Naivasha, away from the hustle and bustle of Naivasha town. The farm covers many green acres, with fresh produce stretching as far as the eye can see, particularly tender stem broccoli.
Employees of Mara Farming are able to acquire EcoZoom solar products through payroll deduction. Many would not otherwise be able to afford our products, as the cost of one solar home system can sometimes be as much as half a month’s salary. This is too much to part with for most families in Kasarani, who have other more urgent expenses like school fees.
All the inhabitants of Kasarani town live in houses made from cement and wood, with metal or ‘mabati’ roofs, as they are called in Kiswahili. 90% of families cook with charcoal daily, and do not have access to electricity. This makes them ideal candidates for solar powered lighting solutions, like ours.
We first visited Anne’s home, a modest one room house. Anne has the EcoZoom Duo Light- two solar powered detachable orange bulbs and a solar panel which she can also use to charge her phone. Anne can not leave the panel out on the roof to charge her bulbs unless she is home, as it would likely be stolen.
Anne likes that the Duo Light’s bulbs are portable, as she uses one to go to her remote bathroom at night. Before our solar product, she was using kerosene lamps to light her home
The second home we visited was Selina’s, where she stays with her husband and children. Selina has a small separate room for cooking and washing. She also has the EcoZoom Duo Light, and had just finished paying off her loan with her employer.
"I have now paid for my product in full, so I am very happy to be getting light for free every day!"
Selina had the two solar bulbs permanently installed on the ceiling, one in the main room and the other in the smaller room for washing. Before her Duo Light, she was also using kerosene lamps to light her home.
Our last visit of the day took us to Emily’s house. Emily and her husband live in three separate rooms together with their two young children. They have the EcoZoom Multi Light, which has 3 solar powered bulbs and a portable power bank for mobile phone charging, as well as a solar panel.
Emily likes the Multi Light as she can use one bulb in each of their three rooms, and her husband takes the portable power bank to work.
"My children can do their homework at night in their own room, which is very helpful."
Before the Multi Light, Emily had a similar solar system with 3 bulbs, though they were not detachable.
We really enjoyed our trip to Naivasha. Seeing EcoZoom solar lights in use and engaging with our end users provides valuable feedback and an experience that we can’t get from our office in Nairobi. We look forward to more trips like this in the months to come.
Do you have any questions for EcoZoom end users in Kenya? Email them to email@example.com, and we will ask them on our next trip.
Thanks for reading!