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Efficient Lighting and Micro Enterprise Creation for Nigerian BOP

Focus areas: Mitigation; Adaptation
Location: Kaduna and Niger States of Nigeria
Established: August 2010

Efficient Lighting and Micro Enterprise creation for Nigerian BOP is running in selected States of Northern Nigeria and is targeted not only at climate change mitigation or adaptation but at poverty reduction through a micro enterprise generation. It will also contribute immensely to the Improvement of maternal and child mortality through the promotion of clean indoor air.

When the sun goes down over large swathes of the developing world, the 1.3 billion people currently living without access to an electricity connection are plunged into darkness. From the shanty towns of Sub-Saharan Africa to the sprawling slums of the Indian sub-continent; night-time brings with it, a noxious ritual of candles, gas lamps and open fires. If a single kerosene lantern burns for an average of four hours a day it emits over 100kg of CO2 a year. The combustion of fuel for lighting consequently results in 190 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to one-third the total emissions from the UK.

The activity is implemented to ease access and acquisition of solar lamps and home systems to people at the base of the pyramid. This will be carried out using a market based approach through the creation and improvement of micro enterprises in target areas. Solar lamps will be proffered to the people using local micro entrepreneurs, therefore promoting trust and scale, thereby creating a business for these chosen entrepreneurs and ensuring adoption by the people of the communities in which these people belong. These entrepreneurs will be given appropriate training in business and marketing. Other selected small business people who hitherto ran their business that required electricity using polluting diesel generators will also be brought on board in target communities and have their generators replaced with solar home systems that can give them their electricity requirements and they will be given an option to pay back in installments for these lamps over time. By carrying out these activities with chosen and appropriate parameters in place the communities will gradually become cleaner and livable for the people in these target areas and upon successful completion in one area, this model will be replicated ensuring smooth transition to a scalable and clean activity that would save lives and protect our environment while generating a long time income for the people of the communities.


Mitigation / Adaptation


Potential for scaling-up and replication

proponents of the activity presented the concept note for this activity as an entry in the UNDP/BOI (Nigeria) Access to Renewable Energy(AtRE) challenge that was open to businesses to apply for in all 11 UNDP focal states in Nigeria, SOSAI won for this activity in one of the states, Niger using this business model presented here and because of this the AtRE board awarded $30,000 to each winner and the funds generated are planned to be used in developing a bankable business plan that will be presented to Nigerian banks to fund these activities with low interest loans. So far a lot of big banks in Nigeria are involved with this activity and consultants have been presented to winners to assist in developing these business plans starting with the feasibility studies. This activity has imported, using the funds won at the AtRE several samples of solar lamps from different producers to try and test which one will be acceptable by the people and test their adaptability and durability. For the solar home systems these are being assembled in Nigeria using very minimum imported materials to promote employment creation and innovation. Trainees have been trained by German based Arwed Millz who was in Nigeria between June and November 2011 to train youth in assembling these solar home systems. By using these products, this activity will create a demand for these solar home systems improving demand for the products providing a market for the trainees while also promoting the businesses that are using the products as they will constantly be in business with no power failure. The type of businesses proposed to have their generators replaced with these solar home systems are people who charge phones using generators that are very polluting and small saloons and cold stores who sell frozen foods. This activity will adapt major promotion activities in carrying out this activity and the funds generated from the sales of solar lamps and that from the small businesses will be used to further promote this activity in neighboring communities ensuring large scalability and adaptation by the people.
This activity will use market dynamics like installment payments and relative cost price of products and develop working value chains that will carry the activity further than the immediate community it was started in.

This activity is currently at the feasibility study and test stage. Because of the size planned and the amount of money involved, the A small number of the members of the community who sell or trade their wares at night using kerosene lamps have had their lamps replaced with efficient LED solar lamps as a test of the durability of the lamps and the people’s adaptability to use them. This has been going on for about 6 weeks and after testing our staff comes back with large orders from the customers and neighbors of the users of these lamps. Some of the women said they use the lamps now both at home and in their place of business and they are very happy with the performance so far. This has reduced the incidence of fires from open flames of kerosene lamps and the heat generated from these kerosene lamps are also averted while using the solar lamps. The elimination of indoor air pollution ensures better child and maternal health, children can do their school studies in good conditions and this project will ensure financial security for the people and families as they will now spend very little in getting access to lighting by not buying kerosene as regularly as they used to and for those who needed wood to make open fires for lighting, the wood will be further saved protecting our natural resource. As stated earlier, cleaner air will be promoted and cleaner communities as well with the drastic reduction in indoor air pollution which is the third killer of women and Children in sub-saharan after HIV and malaria. Responsible for the death of 1.6 million people according to WHO reports.

In this pilot phase of replacing existing late night business people’s source of lighting with the solar lamps has made us realize that most of these small businesses are owned and run by women thus the project ensures economic empowerment and health benefits to women who were disadvantaged in this regard.

The potential of scaling up and the impacts therefrom has been the major motivating factor behind the proposal and planning for the successful implementation of this activity. The need for solar products is enormous. When one puts the problem in numbers, those without electricity pay hundreds of times more per lumen -- the unit measurement of visible light emitted by a source -- than those who enjoy free-flowing electricity.

While it might seem that the obvious solution is to expand electricity grids, in recent years more environmentally sustainable and immediately accessible alternatives have emerged. Chief among them is the solar-powered light emitting diode (LED) lamp.
This is a must have for most communities in the BOP because the cost of effective lighting and power source had been prohibitive, but with the model of this activity this will be a thing of the past because people will be given opportunities to get access to electricity as lighting for homes and for businesses. Because of the high energy poverty of Nigeria a lot of communities had been living in the dark, and as such the scaling up of the products and services is very important to improve livelihoods and the environment at large.
Because the micro entrepreneurs and business owners will be supported by the funds generated for this activity to either start the business of selling the products or for technology acquisition, the beauty of this activity is to make it easy for them to pay so that there would be a larger uptake. When the micro entrepreneurs are able to pay out their loans and have expanded considerably in the startup area, the funds will be pooled together and another activity area will be systematically picked out, and then business people and micro entrepreneurs also selected to run the activity as was done in the last activity area. This is planned to be continued to ensure full scale up and sustainability of the activity which is going to transform the communities where these activities are successfully implemented by improving health, ensuring a cleaner air and more environmentally friendly communities. The Award from AtRE will give a huge push to this activity and the awareness raised by the AtRE team will ensure that banks feel more comfortable about extending low interest loans to these activities.                           

Lighthouse Activities

Activity Database
SOSAI Renewable Energies Company;

Tallafi for Women Advancement Initiative