Articles, Blog

Angaza | Lesley Marincola | Skoll Award 2018


There are billions of
people that live off the grid, around the world and
they don’t have access to life-changing products
like solar energy or clean cooking appliances. I knew that technology was out
there to solve their needs, but it was out of financial reach. We need to make these products accessible by making them affordable. And that’s what Angaza set out to do. Most off-grid families around the world, they’re primarily relying on
burning kerosene for light, but it’s toxic and
ultimately very expensive. Sometimes families are spending
up to 15% of their income just to buy kerosene. Solar energy enables a family to redirect the money that they were
previously spending on kerosene, towards school expenses
or better nutrition. – [Man] So the power’s good. We started by designing
and manufacturing our own solar lights. But what we realized was, the availability of high quality solar lights
designed for off-grid markets; that wasn’t the problem. There were great manufacturers out there already building these products. The problem was these
products weren’t getting to off-grid consumers that
needed them the most, because of lack of affordability. We took a big step back, and we said, “What are we gonna do to
really transform this industry “and solve this problem? “Let’s figure out the end
user financing piece of it.” Angaza has created a pay
as you go technology, that enables off-grid
consumers to actually pay in small amounts, over time, for these life-changing products. (speaking Swahili) – We partner with
manufacturers and distributors to enable a complete solution to get clean energy to off-grid families. We create the technology
platform these distributors use to actually manage their
sales agent networks, and collect these consumer
payments over time. – So now our technology platform enables distributors to
off end-user financing, not just for solar lighting products, but other life-changing
products, like smart phones, solar water pumps, and
even clean cook stoves. – These are people who
live under a dollar a day. I’m looking at a consumer who cannot raise 10,000 shillings up front. And now Angaza has provided
the opportunity to raise a fraction of this amount, and pay slowly. So this makes the product
eventually affordable. So the enabled is all accounts
that are currently acting, on the length that they’re currently on. So the platform is a really great avenue to set up your business as a distributor. Number one, you can monitor yourselves. You can perform registrations
through the platform. You can also monitor your payments, which is really important. In the last two years, we’ve enabled over two million people to make
the switch from kerosene to clean, solar energy. And in the next five years,
we want to make solar energy, and other life changing
products accessible to over 100 million people. – I remember going to Kenya, traveling to a village,
and I walked into a home, where this little boy
was doing his homework, with proper light. It makes it all worth it. – If I want a bright
light, I switch it twice, then I will have the bright light. – At the end of the
day, what we’re doing is increasing financial inclusion. It’s enabling access for everyone,
no matter where you live, or where you were born.

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