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INSIGHT: How solar-powered charging stations create opportunities

Last week we looked into the Revolving Loan Fund Project, another successful ‘Green Solution’ that removes existing barriers surrounding access to quality, affordable solar products.

This week we continue with our theme of using solar, this time as the power behind mobile phone charging stations.

Juabar Design was founded by Sachi DeCou, Olivia Nava and Rachel Gant from the California College of Arts in California, the US.

They recognised that there was an increasing demand in rural areas to charge mobile electronics and provide better access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Working with Dar es Salaam’s Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI Africa) and local community members, Juabar Design co-designed solar-powered charging kiosks to meet this need, and serve as franchise businesses for entrepreneurs.

The process began in July 2012 with the implementation of the first two Juabar kiosk prototypes. These came into operation in September 2012, one operated by a local family near Bagamoyo and the other in a town outside of Bunju.

The kiosks are designed as a small a business for a local entrepreneur to offer mobile phone charging and other needed energy services to their communities while earning an independent living. Juabar grants a possible total of at least 40 charged phone batteries in one day.

Mzee Tarimo who operates one of the kiosks expressed excitement at this business opportunity and mentioned that the community likes the solar charging aspect of Juabar.

“They have the option to go down the street to charge their phones at a generator, but they like that the solar is clean, quiet and reliable and they come here.”

Salama, a young woman who operates a kiosk near Bagamoyo has had great success with her business and expressed excitement at finding ways to even further expand the offerings of her kiosk to serve the community’s needs.


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