4.2 Micro-Consignment can be Used to Introduce Green Technology and Other Socially Beneficial Products into Hard to Reach Markets, Thus Providing an Additional Value- Add to Communities as Well as Entrepreneurs

The micro-consignment approach can be used to educate consumers about low-cost, socially beneficial products and increase access to those products. It can also open up rural or slum distribution channels, so hard-to-reach families can access green or other beneficial technologies.

Energy poverty affects much of the world but is especially dire in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda only five percent of the population has electricity but 75 percent has mobile phones; market opportunities exist for solar energy products to be used as lamps and also chargers for mobile phones. Globally, there is a $1 trillion market for off-the-grid energy solutions. LivelyHoods (Box 4.1.1) markets a range of products that reduce household contamination, dependency on electricity, and improve hygiene. Solar Sister’s experience with green technology impacts the lives of AGYW in multiple ways, as explained in Box 4.2.1.

4.2.1 Bright Ideas: Solar Sister Provides Energy and Health Solutions in Uganda

Energy poverty impacts AGYW because they are generally responsible for obtaining fuel for the household. That either means firewood or kerosene. Solar Sister found that the introduction of solar technology can affect families, and especially girls and young women, on multiple levels.

  • Dependence on kerosene: Families in Uganda spend up to 30 percent of their income on kerosene to fuel small lamps. Those lamps also cause fires and burns, and reduce household air quality. Solar products require a larger sum initially but pay out.
  • Light for studying: In Uganda, girls come home from school and have to help with chores while boys are allowed to study. By the time evening comes and girls can study, they have insufficient light to read. Light from solar lamps provide low-cost illumination that eliminate some of the barriers to girls’ education.
  • Peer-to-peer sales: Ugandan women tend to make decisions about household budgeting and fuel spending. AGYW are thus the most effective salespeople because they can convince their “sisters” to invest in solar products. In addition, local salespeople can use intimate knowledge of their neighbors to find the right sales moment. For example, a Solar Sister might approach a neighbor after she sells livestock at the market and will have the cash necessary to make an initial solar purchase.