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SOLARKIOSK CSMC Uplifts the Local Community in Olkiramatian

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Olkiramatian is a small village in Kenya, close to the Tanzanian border and near Lake Magadi, one of the many lakes of the Great Rift Valley. There are only around two hundred inhabitants in the village, but there is a big catchment area with thousands of people. The people are mainly Maasai who are livestock herders and live a very traditional lifestyle, but love to be connected with family and friends through their mobile phones.

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The village is about 140 kilometers from Nairobi, in a fairly remote area. Some parts of the road get flooded during the rainy seasons. Meeting trucks stuck in the mud when the rains are heavy is not uncommon. Large herds of cattle and goats sometimes block the road. A SOLARKIOSK truck goes there every two weeks to bring quality products to our E-HUBB, which is one of just a few shops in the village and the only shop that is open daily at predictable hours. At the E-HUBB, SOLARKIOSK sells local snacks (Honeycare) and daily essentials such as maize flour, cooking oil, sugar and sanitary items alongside a wide selection of solar products and fuel-efficient cooking stoves. Since there is no electricity grid in Olkiramatian, our solar products are in high demand.

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The E-HUBB has now been expanded into a connected solar market center, (a CSMC), with a restaurant, a butchery, a viewing hall, a beautiful sitting area and patio.

The inhabitants of Olkiramatian tell us they feel uplifted by the CSMC. They now have a beautiful place in the middle of the village where they can meet and chat, have a cold drink, eat local food, do some shopping, watch the news and a football match. Soon there will be a vegetable store, a pool table and other social games and a wifi hotspot for internet access.

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The people who work in the CSMC play a big role in the aspect of uplifting the community. Kelvin Lepapa is the E-HUBB operator. Dickson Sarem is a local entrepreneur who rented a space within in the CSMC to run a restaurant and a butchery. 19-year-old Charity Nosim and her colleagues, Esther Yiamat and Njeri, work as cooks, waitresses, and assistants at the restaurant. Vestus Kisiang’u is the butcher. The E-HUBB/CSMC stands out in Olkiramatian as a new level of development in the area and is highly appreciated by the local community.

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And this is just the beginning. Look out for our feature next week on Charity Nosim and her words of wisdom for SOLARKIOSK.

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SOLARKIOSK enables and empowers Middle Management starting in Rwanda

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At SOLARKIOSK we are aware that our middle management is the backbone of our network. The more our managers are empowered, the better our operations will run. As a result, we started a series of Middle Management training end of last year beginning in Rwanda.
 
We want to enable our middle managers with all the necessary skills to successfully grow into and beyond their management positions. The training aimed at strengthening management skills, which include organization skills such as setting targets, structuring team meetings, delegation, and soft skills like giving feedback and effective communication methods.
 
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A few months after the training, we asked Evans Kipkorir, Finance Manager, and Steve Gakuru, Head of Customer Finance, how the training helped them.
 
What were your 3 most important takeaways from the training?
 
Evans:
“Setting departmental goals, objectives and task prioritization using the priority matrix, which I have passed down to the entire finance team. The delegation of tasks and allowing the team members be responsible and accountable. And additionally, conducting an effective team meeting.”
 
Steve:
“The delegation of responsibilities to team members, a setting of departmental goals and objectives, conflict resolution and motivation of the team.”
 
How has the training improved your management skills?
 
Evans:
“Task prioritization skills have helped me to always be able to tackle tasks that are more urgent and important first and then followed by other tasks. Enabling me to deliver
the tasks effectively.”
 
Steve:
“One of the practical examples of how training improved my management skills is the delegation and structuring of my team. This gives everyone the clear view of their responsibilities.”
 
What changes did you implement in your team after the training?
 
Evans:
“I came up with two teams for my department, where each team leading the respective areas would be accountable and responsible for the tasks delegated to them.
This further built trust within our team and improved their time management.”
 
Steve:
“The changes I implemented in my team was for the team to always provide to me with their weekly to-do list. Where each team member has tasks to be accomplished within a given period of time. Enabling for a more efficient and less stressed work environment.”
 
What did you like about the training?
 
Evans:
“The whole training was great since it had many practical exercises that were related to the day to day activities that we encounter during our day to day work life.”
 
Steve:
“What I liked most about the training was the methodology of training. It was open to everybody to give views on certain topics and how he/she understands something, which made it more fun.
 
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SOLARKIOSK and BRCK bring access to information through technology in rural Kenya

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image002 SOLARKIOSK has recently partnered with BRCK to provide E-HUBBs in Migori county with an “Internet Café in a Box.”
 
BRCK, a Nairobi-based technology company, is working to solve the connectivity issue in East Africa and beyond, serving as the on-ramp to the Internet in traditionally underserved communities. SOLARKIOSK’s E-HUBBs provide solar energy to power the SupaBRCK system which runs the Moja WiFi hotspot and local offline content library. The off-line content library is filled with rich, contextually relevant video, audio, and text, such as daily news updates from the BBC World Service (in English and Swahili), youth employment content as well as local music videos, TV shows, and books.
 
Each E-HUBB also offers tablets to allow customers who do not have access to a smartphone to engage with the off-line content and go online using the tablet.
 
SOLARKIOSK and BRCK are excited to offer access to information that will strengthen the education and awareness of the community. This partnership will help establish the foundation for a lasting impact for Migori county.
image001 “Villagers using Moja WiFi network services at one of our E-HUBBs, where an area officer introduces them to all the different features”

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SOLARKIOSK technology now available for all

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We are pleased to announce the launch of our new E-HUBB sales platform for customers worldwide. Customers can now view our solutions online to learn more about the structure and sizes of the E-HUBB product range, along with its diverse use case possibilities. The new page on our website also features customer testimonials and success stories from over 200 E-HUBBs in operation. Interested customers can download the price indication form to mix and match an assortment of equipment and services available for the E-HUBB to suit their requirements.

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For more information on our E-HUBB solutions available for purchase please feel free to contact us on b2b@solarkiosk.eu or visit our new page here.

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wPOWER and SOLARKIOSK strengthen their partnership to advocate for women’s empowerment in clean energy.

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SOLARKIOSK’s business model focuses on women as the drivers of renewable energy. It aligns perfectly with the vision and mission of wPOWER.
 
wPOWER is a platform funded by the US State Department that brings together actors from across the clean energy space – under the common mission of promoting the central role of women in clean energy entrepreneurship. This is fundamental to eradicating energy poverty and tackling climate change by delivering clean energy services and products across the world.
 
Faith Nduku Tony, one of SOLARKIOSK’s E-HUBB operators in Kenya, was recently featured on wPOWER’s website to highlight the best practice of SOLARKIOSK empowering women. wPOWER hopes to build the evidence base necessary to advocate for women’s participation in clean energy initiatives and create changes from policymakers and wider sector stakeholders across the world.
 
You can read more about the story here.

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Andreas Spieß, CEO of SOLARKIOSK, chosen as German Minister for Development by German trend magazine NEON

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German trend magazine NEON elected Mr. Spieß as Minister for Development as part of their “Schattenkabinett” (shadow cabinet) in their recent March edition.
 
The featured article titled “Please, you take over” was published as a reaction to the unusually lengthy amount of time German politicians and parties needed to establish a government majority and a functional executive minister cabinet.
 
As a result, inspiring people, whether in politics or not, had been elected to the NEON shadow cabinet, to set a better example.
 

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SOLARKIOSK offers farmers in rural Tanzania a better Access to Markets, with its new reverse supply chain program

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Sales Manager Philip Labre, supervising the packaging of rice at Turiani, Morogoro region, Tanzania.

Photo: Sales Manager Philip Labre supervising the packaging of rice at Turiani, Morogoro region, Tanzania.
 
When we think of supply chain management, we tend to imagine a one-way street, where the supplies go from the producer through a middle-man to a consumer.
 
At SOLARKIOSK we have started to build on our outstanding distribution network to the last mile – to make the most out of it, since the “common” way may not always work in every situation or company.
 
After some research, we decided to reverse our supply chain. Now, our trucks do not only take products to the rural off-grid villages in which we work, but also bring farm products back to the urban centers. This way smallholder farmers benefit from better margins and SOLARKIOSK can offer their high-quality rice and beans to other communities via its more than 40 E-HUBBs and to other wholesale buyers in Dar es Salaam.
 
SOLARKIOSK Tanzania Sales Manager, Philip Labre states, “In our regular market studies, farmers had expressed that the middlemen dictated the prices for their products and that they would be happy if they could find alternative ways to market.”
 
The set-up we then developed is a clear win-win situation for all of us: Better prices for the farmers and great products for SOLARKIOSK and our network. At the same time, we optimize our use of transport vehicles – a responsibility towards the environment.
 
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EQUITY BANK and SOLARKIOSK Kenya partner to finance solar products for SOLARKIOSK customers.

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SOLARKIOSK Kenya has partnered with Equity Bank to roll out merchant outlets across all E-HUBBs in Kenya. Twenty-six of our Kenyan E-HUBB operators recently underwent training on EcoMoto, a platform powered by Equitel.
 
EcoMoto enables customers to access loans to purchase solar products and energy efficient cookstoves, available at our E-HUBBs, through their mobile phones. This allows SOLARKIOSK Kenya to be an Access to Finance enabler at the BoP in rural communities in Kenya.
 
The training of our E-HUBB operators will further help our customers understand their mobile access to finance and the applications to easily organize their private finances.
 
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SOLARKIOSK partners with Honey Care Africa

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SOLARKIOSK is happy to announce a partnership with Honey Care Africa to distribute local, honey-based food products in Kenya.
 
Honey Care Africa works closely together with Kenyan farmers to bring to market the best quality honey and healthy honey-based snacks from locally produced honey and harvests.
 
Solar Kiosk Kenya will soon be selling healthy snacks enriched with natural honey through our network of E-HUBBs in rural Kenya.
 
Find out more about Honey Care Africa here.
 
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SOLARKIOSK was invited to speak at the Munich Security Conference kick-off event

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“Collaboration with local partners and civil society actors has become an undisputed part of comprehensive and effective international development cooperation. However, the question of how to deal with the old economic elites in the process of social transformation has not yet received due attention. How can the economic elites themselves be transformed in societies in transformation? Will they be capable and willing to act as promoters of a rule-based market economy?” These are issues that were discussed at the “Transforming Fragile Societies – What Role for Economic Elites?” event on the 16th of February in Munich.
 
SOLARKIOSK CEO, Andreas Spiess, was invited by the BMW Foundation, to represent SOLARKIOSK as a speaker at the Munich Security Conference focusing on changing “society undergoing ‘elites’ disruptive business models at the Base-of-the-Pyramid.” Together with the panelists Elsie S. Kanza, Head of Regional Strategies – Africa, World Economic Forum and Abdallah Al Dardari Senior Advisor, The World Bank, they tackeled these questions with the knowledge and expereince they have collected through out their careers.
 
Andreas discussed how the SOLARKIOSK business model is directly targeting rural “Base of the Pyramid” communities in developing countries, which rural areas are mostly neglected by infrastructure and investment programs. Whereas the “old economic elites” mainly focus on urban and industrial centers / sectors, SOLARKIOSK scalable commercial approach impacts rural communities where unemployment is up to 40% and more and the youth lacks tangible educational and economic perspectives. Andreas explained how a profitable business can be build with last mile distribution, energy and connectivity.
 
“I am always pleased to see how much interest and appreciation SOLARKIOSK receives at high level events like Davos and MSC. People are excited to learn that our customers may have small pockets, but they are many, and they like to spend their money at SOLARKIOSK as we are the trusted brand for sustainable products and solutions at the last mile. And it does not stop here. We are also buying local produce, often prolonging the value chain at the local farmers through agro-processing, buying at fair price without and reselling directly to other wholesellers. This “push and pull” makes SOLARKIOSKs´s value proposition truly intriguing.”
 

20180216 - Atmosphere at BMW Foundation event, Bayerischer Hof, Munich Security Conference 2018, Munich, Germany.

©Fotografie Lukas Barth

 

20180216 - Atmosphere at BMW Foundation event, Bayerischer Hof, Munich Security Conference 2018, Munich, Germany.

©Fotografie Lukas Barth

 

20180216 - Atmosphere at BMW Foundation event, Bayerischer Hof, Munich Security Conference 2018, Munich, Germany.

©Fotografie Lukas Barth

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