Doricah Moige is featured on the cover of the 2017 FINCA International Annual Report. This Kenyan woman is the proud customer of a solar home system designed and manufactured by BioLite, a FINCA Ventures investee company. Learn more about the 50,000-plus lives impacted by FINCA Ventures portfolio companies or the more than two million microfinance clients served in 2017 in our Annual Report.
Located deep in the agricultural farmland of Kitale, Kenya sits the home of Doricah Moige. This enterprising 52-year-old widow is the mother of five children, ages 10 to 38. To provide for her basic needs and that of her children, Doricah—like nearly all her neighbors—is a farmer. She grows corn and spinach and tends to dairy cows, chickens and sheep.
Doricah’s community lacks electricity. She and her neighbors are forced to rely upon hazardous and costly fuels to light their homes and to prepare meals.
“I wanted to decrease the usage of kerosene, which is expensive and dangerous,” said Doricah. “But it was the only way I knew to light my home.”
Some days during the rainy season I would have to close the windows and sit in complete darkness. It felt miserable.
Despite the misery of the situation, Doricah speaks with a seemingly endless smile. Thanks to a solar home system from BioLite she has reason to feel happier.
Doricah is a member of a saving and loaning group for farmers. One day she and the other 14 members of the group were treated to a product demonstration of a BioLite solar home system. It includes three in-home lights, a motion sensor outdoor security light, a USB-equipped mobile phone charger, a radio and an MP3 player. Doricah signed-up right away. She makes monthly contributions through her microfinance group in the amount of 1,000 Kenyan Shillings (about $10). In less than one year, she will own the product outright.
Prior to solar energy, Doricah walked 20 minutes one-way to charge her mobile phone at a medical dispensary that has electricity. She had no radio and therefore no means of getting news about the outside world. And so much of her money went towards kerosene.
I used to set out a kerosene lantern on a small table for my children to kneel around and do their homework. But there was lots of smoke and fumes.
With a solar home system from BioLite, Doricah can keep her phone charged and listen to the radio. Her children can study when they need to, and it has increased the sense of home security. And that’s not all.
“Solar has reduced my household expenses,” said Doricah. “I put the extra money into savings or I invest it in my farming business.”
When asked what her dreams were for the future, Doricah responded, “For my children to have solar lighting in their home.”
The world’s poor are able to benefit from life-improving products, like solar lighting, thanks to the rise of social enterprises. FINCA Ventures, an impact investing initiative of FINCA International, helps social enterprises like BioLite access the support they need to grow and to offer affordable, high-quality and life-enhancing products and services for low-income families.