Kitale-based Job has been a loyal Azuri customer for three years. Having heard about the product through a local Azuri distributor, he was immediately interested in the economic benefit of being able to maintain good evening lighting and mobile phone charging for fewer shillings than he was already paying just for kerosene.
“Before Azuri, we were spending 700Ksh/month on kerosene, and 20Ksh each week to charge two mobile phones each. When we got Azuri we paid 140Ksh a week until the system was ours, and now we don’t pay anything!”
With Azuri Indigo, Azuri’s entry product, Job and his family are able to enjoy clean solar energy at a low weekly cost of 1.5 USD, instead of paying around 65 USD upfront. Two bright LED lights, a port for phone charging and a Lithium-ion battery that holds more than 8 hours of charge is all powered by a solar panel no bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. The pay-go system mirrors the way in which off-grid families already buy kerosene and candles to light their homes but offers a more affordable, safe and long-term solution- with all-important charging ports for mobile devices.
House-proud Rehab, Job’s wife, quickly became the envy of her friends with their new Azuri Indigo. Having eliminated the harmful thick kerosene smoke from her house, she found that she was able to have the best-kept home in the village- and lighting that could show it to its best advantage. “The light is spread everywhere – right into the corners of the room. Other women come to visit and they demand to have it too. They admire the light – and then they go straight to their husbands!”
“I hated the dust from kerosene – now my house is always clean.”
For those without Azuri, phone charging fees can reach the equivalent of £5 per charge: rural Kitale’s sparse energy access leads many citizens to pay vastly more than those in cities, as it requires access to either a generator or a trip into town on the bus. Job’s household are now not only able to breach their own connectivity problem, they can help their neighbours as well, “We charge mobile phones for friends and relatives – which saves them money too”.
“We saved money right from the start. We think we are now saving about 12000Ksh a year.”
Job’s community spirit has to lead him to become a surprise ambassador for Azuri products in his village. “I was a spokesperson. We told of the advantages to our neighbours.” While being the star of his village is a confidence boost, Job is eager to share the happiness he’s found; “When you are having something good, and your neighbour does not, you have to let out the selfishness and help them get it too.”
Job and Rehab can now enjoy the extra time they have to spend with their children in the evenings. “Before Azuri, I would work all day with my crops, and then make my records the next day, which takes up to an hour,” Job explains, “Now, I can make my records on the same day, sharing the light with my children as they study.” Their children are now able to study for an extra hour a day with no fear of the harmful smoke and chemical fumes that come from kerosene. “With lamps, the children might knock them over, and even with no accidents, the smoke still infects them. Now when I go out, I don’t worry about my children.”
“When the agent showed us the solar light, I was very happy to see this kind of power.”
With Azuri’s rent-to-buy model of solar system, after 65 weeks of topping up Job had paid off his Azuri Indigo box, allowing it to be unlocked infinitely with no extra charge, but Job and Rehab have other plans. “I need at least two more lamps!” he says, looking forward to the next upgrade: Azuri Quad. With their new system, the family will have access to four solar panels, two mobile phone charging ports and a rechargeable radio, all paid for with the Azuri Paygo system. Rehab already has designs on using one of the extra lamps in the kitchen for cooking late-night meals for family and friends.
“We have now completely removed kerosene from our house. My house is always clean, the children can read more now, and we use our savings to pay school fees and also for buying fertiliser and seeds. I am so happy.”