The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition is an activity within the framework of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.

Smokeless Homes Initiative

Your title/position Founder & Director
Type of Enterprise informal program/project , other
Year the ngo or company was founded 2015
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Explain your project in details:

Our main goal is to ensure that the rural households have access and use clean and affordable energy products for their basic needs e.g. lighting, cooking and mobile phones charging. We undertake this by setting up a Village energy hub and offer entrepreneurship trainings to the local women who run the energy entreprises as explained below; Establishment of Village Solar charging stations We do this by setting up solar charging stations which are run by groups of women. The stations provide solar lamps and phone charging services. The women undertake this as a group enterprise on a rent-to-own model by renting out the lamps daily at a cost lower than kerosene. After 4 to 6 months, the individuals own a solar lamp and a cook stove. We mainly deal with the award winning Green Light planet products- sun king lamps and other likeminded partners such as Osram and The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) under the Lighting a Billion lives programme for supply of the fixed charging station model. Capacity building trainings on entrepreneurship and leadership skills The main objective is to provide the women with entrepreneurial skills that will ensure sound management of the Green Energy enterprises such as the solar charging station. The trainings are facilitated in collaboration with professional trainers from institutions such as Kenya Institute of Management (KIM), Ministry of Industrialization and Economic Projects Trust Fund (EPTF).

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Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development

As a result of this initiative, we have been able to create various social, economic and environmental impacts in the wetlands and Island villages using the following indicators ; - Approximately 2000 Rural households accessing and using solar lamps and improved cook stoves for lighting and cooking. - Improved income generation for women solar entrepreneurs - Improved disposable income among female headed households engaging in the solar entreprises. - Reduced cases of open fire accidents at household levels. - Reduced over harvesting of papyrus/vegetation for fuel wood.

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Sustainability and future plans

The Smokeless Homes Initiative business model has inbuilt sustainability mechanisms as follows; Upon receipt of the initial seed grant/financing; - We set up a a Village Energy Hub involving a solar charging station with lamps and cookstoves. Run by local women, using a mobile money Pay as you go platform, they rent out solar lamps daily to households and fishermen at a price lower than kerosene. After every 6 months, we are able to set up an additional charging station and enable the households to own a lamp and an improved cook stove. - The women are trained before the start of the business on basic business and entrepreneurship skills including financial management, customer relations, marketing and other business operation skills for self reliance. Ultimately, our future plan is to establish at least five other Village Energy Hubs in major fishing villages around Lake Victoria and run by the local women while solving the prevailing social, economical and environmental problems caused by lack of access to clean and affordable energy.

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Your profile as an entrepreneur

Caroline is the founder and Executive Director of Women In Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) a grass root organization that empowers women in the fishing villages through alternative sustainable enterprises such as urban farming techniques, ecotourism and green energy enterprises among others. She is an alumnus of the Mandela Washington Fellowship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative under the Business & Entrepreneurship track at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. Holds Bachelors Degree in Business Administration (Human Resource Management option) from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology (JOOUST) and Diploma in Business Management (Kenya Institute of Management). Caroline over five years of experience working with wetland farmers mostly women in the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria basin wetlands through trainings such as; Agricultural producers and entrepreneurs under Banking on Change Project in collaboration with CARE Kenya, Plan International and Barclays Bank. Moreover, while working with farmers, she has engaged in Participatory Rural appraisals, wetland biodiversity assessments, community climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation options including climate smart and ecosystem friendly livelihoods for wetland-dependent communities. She is Alumni of Akili Dada fellows leadership programme, Spark Kenya changemaker, EarthCorps International Corps member ( USA and Ferry Beach Ecology School Naturalist (, USA. Caroline was among the list of Top40under40 women in Kenya 2018 by Business Daily. She was also named among the top 100 most positively inspiring youths in Africa by Positive Youths Africa in 2017 and Kenya Diversity and Inclusion Gender Equality Champion 2nd Runners Up-2019.

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