Community organization for Rural Enterprise Activity Management (CREAM) is a member based, not for profit organization that aims to provide Business Development Services (BDS) to marginalized poor targeting women. CREAM operates in the West Nile region of Uganda and specializes in the formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). It seeks to strengthen the efforts of the marginalized women and men to meet their socio-economic needs on a sustainable basis through capacity building, promotion of social justice and the sustainable use of environmental resources.

In Uganda, 5 million households (85% of the population) lack access to electricity. It has become evident that access to reliable electricity plays a major role in development. One of the major problems for developing countries that lack electricity is expensive, unhealthy, unsafe lighting alternatives. Most Ugandans use kerosene lanterns or candles for lighting which produce poor quality light, have unsafe open flames that cause fires, and with kerosene price fluctuations, they are not affordable. An average Ugandan household spends between USD 4 and 10 per month on kerosene for lighting and between USD 1 and 2 per month on phone charging. Redirecting current kerosene/paraffin expenditures to modern alternatives like the BASE Technologies Firefly™ and PowaPack solar systems will have positive development effects resulting in:

  • Healthier homes due to lack of toxic fumes
  • Safer homes due to minimized fire hazard
  • Higher income for small businesses
  • Improved education
  • Reduced energy spending

The Firefly™ lighting products can be purchased from USD 15, resulting in a payback of less than 4 months. One of the challenges is that people are still not able to raise the initial cost to purchase. This is where microfinance comes in. Microfinance enables people who can see the benefits of solar and want to buy, to pay in instalments, making it easier on their finances. BASE has partnered with various microfinance institutions and implemented different models to make Firefly solar solutions accessible.

The CREAM and BASE Technologies Partnership

The CREAM and BASE Technologies Partnership Community organization for Rural Enterprise Activity Management (CREAM) is a member based, not for profit organization that aims to provide Business Development Services (BDS) to marginalized poor targeting women. CREAM operates in the West Nile region of Uganda and specializes in the formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). It seeks to strengthen the efforts of the marginalized women and men to meet their socio-economic needs on a sustainable basis through capacity building, promotion of social justice and the sustainable use of environmental resources. In mid-February, 2010 CREAM and BASE joined into a partnership and trained 15 of CREAM’s Community-Based Trainers (CBTs).

The goal of the training was to enable CBTs to sell BASE’s Firefly products to the groups and communities they serve. Existing relationships with Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA) groups, the motivation of the CBTs and the alternative financing option for the customer, has resulted in impacting over 300 households in just over one month.

Bakole Joel Firefly™ 12 Mobile Hero in Aii-vu Sub County

Muzee Erima Albino must be the happiest elder in Aii-Vuu SubCounty, having a hard-working son like Bakole Joel. Today Bakole, a Primary seven pupil at Ojuku Primary school, is able to meet some of his need for scholastic materials thanks to his Firefly solar light. Sitting attentively in his Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) meeting, Bakole has seen firsthand the benefit of being a member of Ayiri VSLA. Within one month of acquiring his Firefly12 Mobile, Bakole has become known in his village for his phone charging business and has improved his academic performance.

As a student Bakole earned money for his savings by selling tobacco he grew. Tobacco is the main cash crop in the area and was Bakoles’ only source of income even though it is not environmentally friendly and there was not enough income to help him save. There was only one location for phone charging in his village - a generator owned by a video hall that operated only at night which made phone charging difficult. An idea struck him. If he borrows twenty five thousand shillings ($12.50) from the VSLA and match that amount from his savings he could buy a Firefly12 Mobile. What he bought for personal use later, became a commercial phone charging point in the village. Today Joel boasts earnings of about 2,500 shillings ($1.25) daily from his phone charging business.

”There is now reason to pass my exams.” - Bakole - Busy reading for his future.

According to Bakole, people prefer his place to the generator at the video hall because it is more convenient. “My system has been more convenient for the community and I have attracted more customers.” Looking bright and vividly happy Bakole confirms the benefit of both being in VSLA and his new acquisition, the Firefly12 Mobile. Demand is increasing and he is being asked for bigger systems that can charge more phones at the same time. He believes his savings will soon increase to 5,000/- ($2.50) weekly. Accordingly he hopes to relieve his elderly father Muzee Erina Albino from buying scholastic materials like books, pens, and even uniforms. Furthermore with a stable source of light for reading at night Bakole believes that his academic performance is improving. Regular income from his Firefly(TM)12Mobile phone charging business has improved his savings capacity in addition to helping him meet his scholastic needs.

“I had bought this system for my personal use given that waiting at night for charging was very disturbing for me.” - Bakole

“These days I read up to ten o’clock in the night and a guess my performance in class will improve, I am now like the town children that have electricity!” - Bakole

The CREAM and BASE Technologies Partnership Community organization for Rural Enterprise Activity Management (CREAM) is a member based, not for profit organization that aims to provide Business Development Services (BDS) to marginalized poor targeting women. CREAM operates in the West Nile region of Uganda and specializes in the formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). It seeks to strengthen the efforts of the marginalized women and men to meet their socio-economic needs on a sustainable basis through capacity building, promotion of social justice and the sustainable use of environmental resources. In mid-February, 2010 CREAM and BASE joined into a partnership and trained 15 of CREAM’s Community-Based Trainers (CBTs).

BASE Technologies is a Ugandan social enterprise focused on distributing Barefoot Power Firefly™ solar lighting systems to people at the base of the global economic pyramid. Through a specialized “business in a bag” training program, dedicated entrepreneurs develop micro-franchises enabling them to make a living distributing safe, affordable, healthy alternatives to kerosene and candles. BASE Technologies also partners with solar dealers, non-governmental organizations, community organizations and micro-finance institutions that provide outlets for product sales, awareness-building activities, innovative financial support systems and after sales warranty service.

For more information call or text: 0716 781212, 0776 781212, 0756 781212. E-mail: info@basetechnologies.ug

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