Florence, one of our first customers in Uganda, lives in a small village on the outskirts of Gulu in the north of the country. Florence isn’t connected to the grid. In fact, no one is. Locals use candles and paraffin to light their homes, and have to travel to town to buy them. When the weather is bad it’s too muddy to walk to the centre to buy candles, so families sit at home in the dark and wait for the rain to pass.
Florence’s doesn’t have the savings for the upfront cost of a solar home system. With an Indigo solar home system, she doesn’t need them. Indigo combines solar technology with mobile phone technology to create a pay-as-you-go payment method, whereby customers can pay a small fee per week for a scratch-card to top up their system, and can enjoy clean, permanent light, no matter what the weather. It doesn’t require a dent in the family savings like the upfront cost of similar retail-only systems, and provides two lights that can run for eight hours a night with much better light quality than a kerosene lamp. Plus, Florence now has a mobile phone charger whenever she needs it. She’s even saving on her energy bill- customers save 50% on average by switching to an Indigo system.
Life where burning fuel provides the majority of lighting is tough. Recently, one of Florence’s neighbours returned from her night-job to find her house levelled by fire, her four children gone. Florence was so deeply affected by this tragedy that she has decided to become an Indigo Distributor in her local community, to allow her neighbours to have access to the same clean, safe lighting as she does.
Florence’s own children are already benefitting from the benefits of Indigo. Her three oldest are in Primary and Secondary school, and Florence has noticed a change in their grades already because they are able to read their books at night. Even the youngest, only a few months old, is able to make use of the light- Florence can leave him to play safely underneath it in her bedroom while she reads her bible in the evenings. As she says: “No light, no life.”
Azuri, the UK based inventors of Indigo, have helped transform the lives of many women like Florence. By providing just a small quantity of electricity, women are now able to save time collecting kerosene and travelling to the nearest village each week to charge their mobile phone. Florence isn’t waiting for electricity- she is bringing electricity to her neighbourhood.