Hi, I'm Aneri, the founder of a new non-profit ENVenture. Over the past three years, I spent time in Bangladesh, Uganda, Ghana and lived in a village myself in rural India. I believe what all these communities share in common is their desire to have sustainable energy solutions. Energy powers education, health, safety, business, sanitation, etc. Villagers spend an absurd amount of earned income on kerosene and wood for basic lighting and cooking. Yet there are so many innovative low-cost inventions out there that help address these issues. It is a complete solution? No, but it's a step. Building a clean energy store in the village of Wabutungulu, Uganda will create a supply chain for life-saving technologies such as improved cookstoves which reduce indoor air pollution, water filters which eliminate water-borne diseases, and solar lights which are essential for villages off-the-grid. By donating, you are actually investing in creating a new business in this area run and operated by locals. And when they repay ENVenture this loan, we will use it to bring these innovations to another village. This is the definition of sustainable development.
The Clean Energy Store opens February 15th. Help us make this business a reality by contributing to our goal by the end of this month! We have some exciting prizes for generous donors!
Why is this project needed?
Imagine (or remember) when a hurricane knocked out the power in your community. How you went to the local convenience store to buy water, flashlights, and other emergency supplies to deal with the power outage. Now imagine living in a state of PERMANENT power outage for not only your household but your entire town and that no convenience stores exist for you to deal with this lack of power. What would you do? Aneri and Kartikeya have spent years examining the problems of lack of electricity and the systemic problems caused to societies that are left in the dark. Health, education, livelihoods, agriculture, and safety are all adversely impacted by lack of lighting, sanitation, and modern fuels for cooking. We believe this can be changed by providing a market solution that allows for locals to improve their conditions by creating supply chains that will enable villagers to rise out of these great daily challenges.
Who are you working with?
Joint Energy Environment Projects (JEEP) will be the recipient of the funding raised through this campaign. A Ugandan-owned and operated non-profit charity (and led by a woman!), it has been running since 1983. We are fully confident that JEEP will be able to use the funding raised to successfully open a clean energy store. Here is a list of the incredible accomplishments this small organization has been able to achieve over the years:
-Trained 15,000 people in 13 districts in Uganda on environmental conservation (tree planting, nursery establishment and management).
- Taught kitchen energy management to 16,000 people in 13 districts and taught them how to construct energy wood saving mud stoves in 15 districts.
- Built 49 institutional fuel-saving stoves in schools, hospitals, Prisons, Universities, and other institutions.
- Worked with the IFC’s Lighting Africa project to champion solar in 16 districts.
- Sold 17,000 Sun King solar lamps to different households and schools
- Installed 52 solar systems in schools in 17 districts.
- Installed 2 solar systems with vaccine refrigeration for two health centers in 2 districts.
What does your donation go towards?
Low-cost water filters, solar lights, and improved cookstoves. These are products highly desired by the community, but are currently unavailable due to distribution challenges and lack of retail culture for sophisticated products. Thus your donation will not go towards any overhead costs, but directly towards the purchase of these products as inventory for our local partner’s clean energy store in Wabatungulu, Uganda.
Through our market research, $2000 is a budget that is manageable by local partners, and allows for flexibility within its operations. It’s high enough to obtain a variety of products, but low enough to not encounter much risk with demand. If we exceed our goal, we'll be able to use extra funding as our base for launching another store!
Why do you call it an investment?
The donations we are fundraising from you is actually going into a revolving fund. The loan will be paid back to ENVenture over a 13-month period from our local partner. Then we will re-invest the $2000 towards a new store in another village! Thus, rather than a one-off donation, this is a truly sustainable donation that will be building new sustainable enterprises across Uganda and India!
4821 households and 9226 villagers are within 15 km of the store site. The people do not have electricity; the main source of light is candlelight. In general, the population does not have access to clean water and still use traditional wood fire for cooking. The largest source of income of the population is from agriculture and the local population also has a very low income. The village has two solar-powered street lights, so awareness of solar technology is known. In addition, JEEP has a solar mobile phone charging station that it operates there. Homes have burned down in this village due to kerosene use, and they have estimated that an average of 5 days a month problems and accidents occur with Kerosene.
By donating to the store, you can help avoid these accidents and directly help the village.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everyone has the means to donate. However, if you have friends and family that are looking to make charitable contributions to these causes, we ask that you tell them about our campaign!
Please help us get the word out and make some noise about the campaign. You can use the Indiegogo share tools to make it easier!
We are in process of registering as a 501(c)3 US charity. Thus your donations will be able to be retroactively eligible for tax-deduction for 2013.