A recent blog post on our website looked at how we apply capacity building, financing and mobile fintech for last mile dwellers to increase energy access. And in that same manner, this post talks more about it with a focus on a recent training Bootcamp we conducted in Jinja for our newly onboarded Community Based Organisation (CBO) partners. We know CBOs are typically used to grants which enable them conduct their community development work, which is in itself of paramount importance in achieving greater good. However, we also know that these CBOs require a continuous source of income to keep running. In seeking to generate earned income for the financial sustainability for their organizations, clean energy presents an exciting and lucrative business opportunity.
The bootcamp took place in the beautiful city of Jinja, world renowned as the source of the River Nile, and for offering a thrilling travel experience and one stop point for adrenaline pumping sports. Sadly for the entire team, hardly anyone got to enjoy the sights, sounds and feels because of the tight schedule that was upon us. The CBOs in the Bootcamp all hailed from the eastern part of Uganda. This has been the regional recruitment trend for ENVenture over the last year. The first quarter of 2018 focused in the north, second quarter in the west, third quarter in the central and now the forth quarter in the east.
The three-day training guided CBOs towards the startup of energy enterprises, an equally exciting prospect for each. All aspects of last mile clean energy access and entrepreneurship in which the CBOs serve were discussed and this was based on the business models of the past 78 partners that had signed on to the ENVenture program since 2014. The training specially illuminated ENVenture’s monitoring and mentorship function in the activities of the enterprises from launch up to completion of the program. With a people-centered approach applied in our training, we shared knowledge on how the CBOs could set up standalone energy businesses that cater to the local communities they themselves are trying to empower. We even played a couple of outdoor games that made the sessions more fun and engaging. With ENVenture increasing scale over the last few years, one of the sessions (as you will see in Training Report below) introduced the model of CESLAs (Community Energy Savings and Loans Associations) supported by ENVenture. The model works to empower partners to enhance their capacity to pay off their energy loans and grow their businesses for sustainability. CBOs that are geographically close to each other are able to band together to form a group where money is agreeably collected and in the same manner, shared to pay off loan installments. They do exactly what the name suggests: provide a way for a group of CBOs in an area to save their money, access more of ENVenture’s clean energy loans, pay off credit and grow their sustainable businesses. But the benefits don’t stop there: later on, CESLAs help increase the order cycles of cleantech products that have the capacity to improve livelihood and cut down on the effects of energy poverty. The weekly pooled savings can be used by a CBO member to borrow money at a rate of interest they themselves have set. Each withdraw serves the purpose of either purchasing more stock or making a loan repayment to ENVenture. Its a win-win situation.
We have the Capcon Foundation to thank for grant funding used to sponsor more women attendees. Thanks also goes to the ENVenture team that facilitated the training and a big ups to the new onboarded participants that are now taking their training into action.
To read a fuller digest of the three-day training, click the link below to access the report;
ENVenture is a social enterprise that is building out the ecosystem in the last mile for clean energy access through financing, capacity building and technology.