You may know that Kiva not only partners with Microfinance institutions, but also with schools, associations, and social enterprises. Given my keenness for learning about different social enterprise models, I was stoked to find out that as part of my Fellowship, I was tasked with finding leads for new potential Kiva partners in Madagascar. This gave me the chance to meet (dropping Kiva’s name in cold emails worked wonders!) and learn about organizations currently tackling environment conservation, health, sanitation and energy challenges across Madagascar.
I was particularly wowed by two organizations: Loowatt and HERi
In Madagascar, the majority of the population doesn’t have access to sanitation facilities and after four months of living in the country, I can confirm that open defecation and ‘flying toilets’ are common. According to The World Bank, in 2015, 12% of population had access to improved sanitation facilities (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.ACSN).
To tackle this issue, Loowatt is currently rolling out a “waste-to-value urban sanitation pilot system with 100 household toilets in Antananarivo”, Madagascar’s capital city.
In my own words: Loowatt rents out toilets (innovative waterless/odorless design) to private households, collects the human waste once a week, and turns it into electricity and fertilizer. Watt!?
I was lucky enough to get to visit the under-construction treatment centre for their new pilot project and learned about the potential franchise model that they may adopt once the pilot is successful. Oh yeah, and they are funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (enough said!).
Check out Loowatt's site: http://loowatt.com/global-sanitation-madagascar-toilets/
It’s easy to guess that electricity is not widespread in Madagascar. According to The World Bank, in 2012, 15.4% of the population had access to electricity (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.ACCS.ZS).
HERi, another notable social enterprise, is seeking to bring renewable and affordable energy to rural areas in Madagascar. Basically, HERi has developed these uber-cool solar powered energy kiosks. They install these kiosks in rural villages that are not connected to the national energy grid, and train local women entrepreneurs to operate the kiosks as franchisees. The primary product offered to the villagers are lamps that are charged at the kiosk during the day and then rented out at night for less than the cost of candles or kerosene. Aww, social enterprise!
Check out HERi's site: http://www.beheri.com/
Only time will tell whether HERi and Loowatt will become Kiva partners, however if you’re curious to learn about other neat social enterprises that are currently Kiva partners, here are a few favorites:
- Kepler (education)
- Sanergy (sanitation)
- One Acre Fund (agriculture)
- African Clean Energy (cookstoves)