It was a festive Solarkiosk inauguration in Buhabwa, Rwanda, on the 2nd of June 2016 where many visitors from the community came to the Solarkiosk location. Buhabwa, with its 5,442 adult inhabitants within a radius of 5 kilometers, features a sizable daily turn-out of people coming from neighboring villages, all coming to source FMCG’s and energy services, as Buhabwa is surrounded by off grid and livestock dominated farmers who predominantly access subsistence food from retail shops. This presence bears a huge potential for Solarkiosk offerings.
Buhabwa itself has only limited grid, with over 25 retail shops that buy their goods from a city in 18 km distance. It has a thriving agriculture sector and is frequently visited by Kigali traders. Buhabwa has a strong demand for Solarkiosk offerings, in particular financial services, quality FMCGs and reverse supply chains with the Kigali Traders. Judith Girimpundu, the regional Solarkiosk Sales and Marketing officer, presented the agenda of the Solarkiosk inauguration day. The festivities began at 3 p.m. and lasted to 9 p.m. A huge number of Buhabwa residents came to celebrate this event, including even the Police Chief Inspector of Buhabwa District.
FMCG´s and different services were showcased and throughout the event the awareness for the advantage of using solar products offered by Solarkiosk was raised. The visitors were really curious about the displayed solar products, FMCG´s and services such as photocopying, photo shooting, charging and printing. Notably, the photo shooting was enjoyed most of all! The residents were also much excited at the inauguration event about the different cultural dancers including, Kinyarwanda dance, Uganda and Western dance, which was a part of the event. The Sector Executive Secretary gave a warm welcome to all visitors. On the background that the area has a power grid which in parts include generators that are expensive and partly use kerosene which is harmful, he encouraged his people to support Solarkiosk through buying and using solar products. The Regional Manager thanked the residents for turning up in a big number. He highlighted the importance of the solar products to the community in the area. He explained to them that the low costs and effectiveness of solar products is a perfect way of saving money and transforming and improving their livelihood socially and economically. When asking the people in Buhabwa about the impact of Solarkiosk in their daily life some weeks after the inauguration, they confirmed: “Solarkiosk next to our door has helped us save on time and transport cost to access energy services as compared to before. We can access all essential products in one location. We can always access cold drinks anytime as opposed to before and kerosene smoke is no more a health challenge now when we are using a quality solar lamp in our home”.
One man from the village continued: “We are really satisfied in general, but on my side I really appreciate the contribution of Solarkiosk in my daily life because I can get different Solarkiosk products easily yet I used to get them far from my house and at extra cost”.
As a final remark he says: “Solarkiosk creates other business solutions around the kiosk which we think is an opportunity to the local community to engage themselves into micro-income generating activities. I can tell everyone that Solarkiosk has brought the development to our district”.