Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Electricity is scarce in many developing countries, making it difficult for people to take advantage of new technologies like cell phones and Internet connectivity. In Tanzania, grid electricity was only available to 14% of the population in 2010 and increasing at a rate less than 1% per year. Without this access, Tanzanians turn to wood or coal for cooking, kerosene for lighting, and gasoline generators or old batteries to power and charge any electronics. These energy alternatives pollute the environment and create poor indoor air quality causing health risks for people using them. Juabar offers an alternative in the form of ready-made solar-powered businesses.
Juabar produces solar-powered kiosks that can charge people’s cell phones and other small electronic devices. These kiosks are instant businesses for entrepreneurs who open up a pop-up solar shop in their community. They create a clean energy charging location closer to home, which also serves as an access point to other types of clean energy products. Juabar is putting together a catalog of environmentally friendly products like solar lights and other small solar items, clean cook stoves, and phone replacement parts. Entrepreneurs can also sell other fast-moving products along with baked goods and sweets.
I asked Juabar CEO and co-founder, Olivia Nava what the name Juabar means, she replied that, “Jua means ‘sun’ in Swahili, it also means, ‘to know’ as a verb” and, “The bar is ‘a convivial gathering place.’” The current kiosk is on wheels allowing it to be brought in at night, but the Juabar founders envision a more permanent gathering place for the community to connect to new technologies. Juabar is now testing a new model for a larger kiosk that would be placed more permanently in its location. The next phase of this vision incorporates an electrified screen to broadcast information and programming to the community, and even providing some kind of tablet or computer for Internet access. This solar company is doing more than providing clean energy; they want to gather the community around new technologies.
Environmental Impact: Avoided use of fossil fuels, including avoided emission of GHGs and harmful substances
Winner of the Seedstars World Tanzania competition, Juabar will compete in the global finals at the Seedstars World Summit in Switzerland in March, 2016.
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