BrightLife: Bringing Light into Darkness
FINCA understands that poverty isn’t just about money. We know that our clients can’t grow their businesses if they lack access to clean and affordable electricity.
This is why FINCA launched BrightLife, a social enterprise to bring life-changing technology and education to low-income people. Some 83% of Ugandan households lack access to electricity, like some 1.2 billion impoverished people around the world who live off-the-grid. To light their homes, many of these families resort to kerosene lanterns, which not only result in accidental fires that kill 265,000 people worldwide per year, but also lead to three million deaths from smoke inhalation.
But now, these families in Uganda can harness the power of solar energy. FINCA is bringing light to businesses and homes that could otherwise go dark with the setting of the sun.
Richard Ndahiro, Uganda Country Director for BrightLife, said, “FINCA is uniquely positioned, having been working with low-income clients, providing access to credit to grow their businesses. We realized it’s essential for us to be able to provide the same target market with access to the goods that can help them improve their livelihoods.”
In Uganda, FINCA sold over 7,000 solar lanterns through micro-retailers in 2015. As a result, shops can stay open later, boosting their earnings, and children can do their homework and improve their prospects for the future. Our solar devices are also replacing expensive and dangerous fuels like kerosene.
We have also introduced efficient cookstoves that use less wood and reduce harmful smoke. They boil water and cook food several times faster, saving precious time, and even power small lamps and charge cell phones. Future products may include water filters, sanitation, and health initiatives.