Prosper-ity: Overcoming Energy Poverty and Financial Exclusion


Norah Basembera lives in the town of Masindi in western Uganda. For Norah, like many in her community, electricity is a luxury. And while she has a job—which makes her better off than many other Ugandan women, her pay is low, and she faces stiff odds to get ahead.

To improve her situation, Norah has two ideas. First, she wants to install solar lighting in her home. Second, she wants to add a room or two to her house that she could then rent out to make additional income. But she doesn’t have the money for either. Traditional banks won’t talk with her because she lacks collateral, and without a business of her own, FINCA’s traditional working capital loans don’t work for her.

Earlier this year, FINCA launched a new initiative to help solve both of Norah’s problems. We call it “Prosper.” Through Prosper, Norah can acquire an affordable solar home system from BrightLife using pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) financing. Because the product is financed, by paying it off over time, Norah will build a credit history. By repaying her PAYGo energy loan in full and on time, Norah will qualify for a 20 percent rebate to deposit into a FINCA Uganda savings account. Instantly, then, she will be eligible for a loan at a multiple of her deposit amount. It’s just the opportunity Norah needed.

Boosting Energy Access and Financial Inclusion

Prosper tackles two issues at once. It helps Ugandans access BrightLife’s clean energy products that create healthier and safer homes, increase productivity, reduce household expenses and provide additional income-generating opportunities. At the same time, it helps transition unbanked and under-banked BrightLife clients to FINCA Uganda where they can access a variety of savings and credit products for more impactful financial inclusion.

Thanks to Prosper, a new generation of BrightLife clients will not only climb the energy ladder, but also gain access to responsible financial services that help families build assets, create jobs and raise their standard of living.

The good thing with this product is that it is for the poor. I want to extend my appreciation to BrightLife and FINCA Uganda for thinking about the poor.