Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Field Partner: BrazAfric helps poor Kenyans buy energy-efficient cookstoves and lighting

We are thrilled to announce our newest partner in Kenya, BrazAfric!

BrazAfric is a for-profit social entreprise that imports, distributes and sells agricultural equipment. To help get these tools into the hands of poor and low-income farmers, it created a vendor financing division for coffee farmer cooperatives in Kenya.

For the last two years, this division has provided funding to these cooperatives to purchase wet mills, which significantly increase coffee grower yields and reduce processing time. Leveraging this experience with micocredit, BrazAfric will work with Kiva to extend financing for energy-efficient cookstoves and lighting to even more poor and rural customers.

Every year, kerosene and open fires cause millions of people -- mostly women and children -- to suffer from burns, smoke and fume inhalation, and respiratory disease. Cooking fires alone account for 1.9 million deaths every year.

To address this urgent issue, BrazAfric will source and sell affordable solar lanterns from D.Light Design (pictured above), a social enterprise dedicated to replacing expensive, toxic kerosene lamps -- the standard in developing countries -- with clean, renewable lighting. BrazAfric is also distributing energy-efficient cookstoves to replace open air fires, the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly 3 billion people around the world.

Kiva loans will help fund two types of loans:

1) Loans to coffee cooperatives for bulk purchases of solar lanterns. These loans range from $500 up to $10,000, with repayments tied to contracts with coffee buyers. Repayment amounts will be subtracted from the payments farmers receive from buyers for their harvests.

2) Loans to micro-retailers who sell cookstoves and solar lanterns to increase their inventories and incomes. These loans range from $500 to $2,000, and have one repayment due at the end of a six to 12 month term.

We are excited that this partnership gives us the opportunity to support the distribution of lanterns made by D.light Designs, a company with complementary values, as well as a diversity of cookstove alternatives to open fire cooking.

The partnership also has the potential to extend Kiva financing to agricultural processing equipment, and to lantern and stove purchases in other East African countries in the future.

Want to make a loan to one of BrazAfric's borrowers? Go here!

Photo courtesy of D.light Design.