It probably is a first of its kind. Providing loans for business and renewable energy products. Under the product dubbed Mwangaza Solar Loan, Rafode meets the energy needs of women and youth in rural areas through consumer financing. Loans are advanced to at least five members in a group and given financial training for six weeks. The company however does not give money directly. The product is disbursed to the client.
Operating in Western Kenya, the company deals in two renewable energy products; cook stoves and solar lighting. Some of the suppliers include Burn, Sunking, Niwa, D-light, Philips among others. The repayment plan is between three weeks to nine months depending on the product.
The CEO Anthony Mayodi noted that just like any other business, they have had some challenges. “Some group members have defaulted in repayments which has forced the company to be more prudent with guarantees before disbursing the products,” said Anthony. He added that transportation for field officers and products has also not been easy as some clients are spread out in far flung areas. Rafode is also in need of marketing especially in the rural areas, branding of the entrepreneur enterprises and access to information on resource mobilization.
As a new client to the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, they hope to have some of their marketing challenges addressed, receive business advisory services and get some financing to scale the business.
The company serves clients in Homabay, Kisumu, Kakamega, Migori and Kisii Counties.
In future they hope to have a wider reach beyond Western to advocate for people to shift from smoke to smokeless cooking and save women from the journey and time spent looking for firewood.
By Mercy Mumo