Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Field Partner: Eradicating energy poverty in Haiti with EarthSpark International

We’re thrilled to welcome EarthSpark International as our newest Field Partner!

When you combine financial solutions with cutting-edge technologies, you create formidable tools to address major development issues -- like how to bring electricity to people living without it.

This is exactly what EarthSpark International is doing in Haiti, where 75% of households are forced to rely on toxic and expensive kerosene for lighting and cooking fuel. Unclean and unsafe energy products impact people's health, cause environmental damage and decrease productivity across the board.

So why would any family prefer kerosene to solar lightning? Because they don’t have enough money to cover the costs of traveling to cities to buy solar lights, or to cover the upfront fees for the actual equipment.

Inspired to help poor people in remote regions to buy solar lights at minimal cost, EarthSpark bundles consumer credit with retail distribution of solar lightning. By expanding market access to lower-income Haitians, the organization is putting affordable, portable solar lighting in the hands of people who need it most. Also, it’s helping micro-entrepreneurs build their own businesses while distributing these products.

Kerosene lights are often open flames, causing respiratory problems and burn injuries.

Given that households spend an average of 25% of their incomes on low-quality sources of energy, solar technologies have the opportunity to radically improve people’s quality of life while saving them money in the long run.

How does EarthSpark's model work? 

The organization has built a supply chain for small-scale clean energy technologies. The supply chains connect manufacturers, importers, distributors and end users by providing goods through brick and mortar stores and a network of small-scale entrepreneurs.

Juline is an entrepreneur in Les Anglais, Haiti who sells new clean energy products like solar lights to people in her hometown. By promoting solar energy, she is supporting her own financial independence while enabling others to acquire affordable lighting.

By providing access to better quality energy products, EarthSpark helps thousands of people enjoy safe light, increase their productivity and improve the quality of their lives.

EarthSpark’s stores also serve as hubs for micro-entrepreneurs who sell the nonprofit’s products. After training, these men and women are each provided with a business-in-a-bag, which includes marketing materials and product guides. Entrepreneurs who sell these products can generate enough additional income to run self-sustaining businesses. You can learn more about EarthSpark's projects here.

So what’s Kiva’s role in all this?

Kiva lenders' funds will help EarthSpark expand its business-in-a-bag model and get clean energy products to rural, lower-income households in Haiti. When you lend to an EarthSpark entrepreneur, the loan pays for the business-in-a-bag startup kit. The borrower then pays back the loan with profit generated from sales. Every time this happens, their business gets bigger and stronger.

If you believe that promoting clean energy services is a great idea and want to be a part of this incredible process, then EarthSpark International is the right choice for you.


Have questions about EarthSpark International? About Kiva Field Partners? Send them our way at

Images courtesy of EarthSpike International.