Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
THE SHEPHERD CARES INITIATIVE (ENERGY)
Explain your idea in details:
The SCI (Energy) aims at eradicating levels of poverty among beneficiaries, increase school performance among children and improved overall food security through sell of solar powered lamps on cash and credit i.e Pico lamps and solar home systems to remote and hard to reach areas of Malawi that are mostly neglected. SCI will collaborate with village savings groups, community based organisations as well as farmers groups which are available in most villages in Malawi to source sales agents from the target areas and shall each be given a definite area of operation to avoid overlapping of efforts. According to power Africa, https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/malawi approximately 85% of Malawians live off the grid most of whom are rural, hard to reach and remote citizens. SCI thus aims to recruit agents from within the remote areas so that focus is given to selling the lamps to people in the areas. Shepherd Cares plans to grow and offer solar products in the agricultural sector i.e. solar water pumps to assist in farming as well as clean cooking stoves that use briquettes instead of charcoal as a way of preserving the environment. Customers that purchase of credit shall be able to make payments through mobile money platforms from the comfort of their homes and shall receive an SMS with a token on their phones as the solar lamps shall be embedded with a Paygo application system i.e. Angaza and or PayGee. For customers buying the products on credit, an affordable payment structure shall be put in place to for daily,weekly and monthly payment so that money should not be a problem to deny customers from using use the lamps.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
With the introduction of solar lamps by SCI, people in the remote and rural target areas will have the opportunity to operate their small scale businesses for long hours i.e hawker shops, tailoring shops which will lead to improvement in the economic standing of the household and community level. The Initiative will further affect the education sector by giving a chance to school going children to study during off hours resulting in improvement in school performance and increased access to information since some solar lamps are equipped with radios and phone charging systems which is a huge problem in remote areas. In the first year of operations, SCI plans to distribute 1500 solar lamps and directly impact 7500 individuals with the initiative and increase numbers of small scale businesses in the target areas by 15% through encouraging innovation among customers. This will be done through surveys and follow up campaigns to our customers to assess the positive impact that the use of the solar lamps has had on a family level. SCI shall also assess the change in our customers school going children's performance by analysing the progress reports to measure the impact that the solar lamps has had on the educational sector. SCI will also help bring job opportunities to the youth in the areas of operation thus allowing them to be self reliant and shall offer internship programs so that students and those that have finished their different educational programs can have hands on experience as they prepare for the job market which generally requires a crucial level of skills and experience if one is to be considered for a role. with the introduction of solar powered agricultural products, SCI will assist in ensuring that there is food security at both household and community level which results in productivity.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Shepherd Cares business model will use community based organisations, village savings groups and farmers groups to source agents who will act as a link between SCI and its customers. The model is coming due to a problem in distribution of lamps to remote areas since most entities focus on urban areas only thus SCI plans to bridge this gap. For financing, SCI shall use funding from banks and microfinance institutions i.e. FINCA Malawi and crowd funding initiatives to source funds to use for the sell and distribution of the lamps. Shepherd cares shall engage with MAEVE project Malawi (https://maeveproject.mw/), a energy organisation that assists in selling, marketing and distribution of energy products on behalf of other entities. Our collaboration with MAEVE project Malawi would ensure that SCI products reach our target beneficiaries whilst lowering costs as MAEVE project Malawi does all these operations at their own cost. This would help SCI to broaden its reach by having MAEVE work in other areas as SCI personnel conduct outreach and campaigns in other areas simultaneously.
Jackson Eric Bushire is a young Malawian man born 8-December-1995 in Kasungu district of Malawi. First born in a family of four children and a fourth-year student studying for a Degree in Accounting at the Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA) who has just finished his research and a final level student studying for a Diploma in Accounting under the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM). I have 1.9 years experience in Customer Service from Vitalite Group Malawi where I am currently working as a Customer Service Assistant. Further to that,I have vast experience in sales and marketing through Castel limited Malawi where I was engaged as a Brand Ambassador as well as Data entry through CRECCOM and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) My motivation and passion for entrepreneurship emanates from my experience working with Malawi Electoral commission where i was commissioned in hard to reach areas of Malawi where i saw first hand the type of life and difficulties that people living with no electricity go through and where women travel long distances to get firewood for cooking. Further to that, my experience as a volunteer teacher at Rays of Hope Ministries showed me the positive impact that using my time, knowledge and efforts to help others has on the lives of the recipients in this case less privileged primary school children. For these reasons, it dawned on me to use my knowledge, experience and resources to establish a platform that would carter for the needs of others to assist in changing their lives for the better for that impact is immeasurable and long lasting.