This initiative makes it easier for Burkina Faso’s poorest households to access eco-friendly alternative technologies. “Nafa Naana” – which means “gains made easy” in the local language – combines custom micro-finance solutions with the availability of high-quality products to provide improved cook stoves and solar lamps to families in Ouagadougou. The project improves quality of life for residents in the capital city, and there are plans to turn it into a franchised expansion.
9,000 energy-efficient products sold
More than 5,000 people reached
More than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent saved annually
In Burkina Faso, wood is a rare and expensive resource. Yet, households still rely on firewood for 80 per cent of their energy consumption. This contributes to the damage done to forest ecosystems. Furthermore, toxic fumes from burning wood are harmful for people, and increasing costs of fuel are making future wood supply precarious. The high perceived price of alternative technologies, weak distribution networks, and a lack of information are among the most pressing barriers preventing development of more sustainable energy sources.
Nafa Naana combines high-quality products, customized microfinance services, and market-based mechanisms to overcome key market barriers. The micro-finance is leverage to allow households to afford alternative technologies. These include gas stoves and improved wood- or coal-burning cook stoves, as well as solar-powered lamps and locally-produced thermal baskets.
Given the savings offered on fuel, investment in the energy-efficient products is nearly painless. Micro-financed small retailers are given a kick-start in the form of training, equipment, and assistance with publicity. The project is financed in part by the sale of carbon emission credits.
Helping the planet
Reducing use of wood for fire conserves dwindling forests. This addresses the problem of climate change by preventing carbon dioxide emissions. Intact forests make for healthier ecosystems, improving land and water quality.
Modern and efficient sources of energy increase the quality of life for those who use them. Toxic smoke from wood fires is decreased or eliminated, improving indoor air quality and therefore health. The amount of money the urban poor spend on fuel is dramatically reduced, while those who sell the products are able to generate additional income.
The program has started moving toward a social enterprise model, scaling up through a franchise expansion. Procedures will be standardized and “business-in-a-box” solutions will be provided to existing retailers so that they can add clean energy products to their business. Social issues and customer needs are very similar across West Africa, so the Nafa Naana business model can be easily replicated outside of Burkina Faso.
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