Case Study: Upya partners with the Solar Cow 4 Impact project in Kenya
Implementing Upya’s CRM software to support the Solar Cow 4 Impact project to increase school attendance and reduce kerosene dependency in off-grid communities.
On the roof of Mchinjirini Primary School in Kwale county, Kenya, stands a row of newly installed solar panels. Inside, a charging base for over 120 rechargeable battery banks sits on top of a desk, connected to the panel. As children arrive for lessons in the morning, they place their battery into the charging dock, and by the time school is over, they are once again fully charged. This unique initiative is a collaborative effort between YOLK, Energy 4 Impact (E4I), Partnering for Green Growth (P4G) and Upya. The initiative aims to provide rechargeable battery banks and LED bulbs (‘Power Milk’, usable for phone charging and lighting) to children to take home and charge devices overnight. The benefits are three-fold: rewarding parents for keeping children in education, reducing kerosene dependency, and providing clean energy to households in rural Africa.
The overarching objective of Solar Cow 4 Impact is to provide accessible, affordable and clean energy to children to improve school attendance whilst reducing dependency on combustible energy sources such as kerosene and candles. The more detailed project objectives include the following:
- Install Power Milk inside two different schools in Kwale county, Kenya, and deploy 200 batteries. Each Power Milk battery can provide 10W of power which can in-turn reduce kerosene dependency by up to 50%
- Increase both school enrolment and attendance by 5%
- Train teachers at each participating school and equip them with the required tools to act as sales agents. Power Milk costs 10KES per day to charge, plus a one-time, upfront deposit
- Manage and monitor the project participants through data collection and impact measurement in the surrounding communities and determine the potential to scale-up deployment of the Solar Cow technology across Africa
The project partners all play an important role in implementing the pilot, from providing the hardware, software, marketing and project management capabilities.
- YOLK is a company that aims to make unlimited, pollution-free, solar energy available through innovative products. Not only do they combine technology and creative design, but also provide solutions for social and energy challenges.
- Energy 4 Impact (E4I) is an international NGO working to accelerate access to clean energy by providing clean energy entrepreneurs with technology, business, market development support and enhanced access to funding.
- P4G (Partnering for Green Growth) is a collaborative partnership among 12 countries. The initiative provides facilitation, funding and recognition to innovative start-up and scale-up projects. Through levels of support, they incubate and accelerate the best ideas for sustainable growth in developing nations. P4G focus on breakthrough solutions in five sectors: food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and circular economy.
- Upya is a London-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides flexible and low-cost CRM software for last-mile distributors in Africa. The software includes the powerful Upya web platform for head-office and an easy-to-use Upya mobile app, used by agents to manage sales, repayments and client relationships both on- and off-line.
The project launched in January 2020 and Upya software forms a key pillar in enabling the participating schools and surrounding communities to access the project.
The nature of Upya’s flexible CRM platform empowers the schoolteachers to easily distribute the Power Milk batteries to their students, whilst also monitoring how and when payments are being made.
Upya’s low-cost and innovative platform helps to highlight the potential for a scalable, sustainable and impactful solution using Yolk’s Solar Cow technology. Furthermore, it appeals to our ethos of finding new and innovative ways to demonstrate impact in underserved areas of off-grid Africa.
Upya’s CRM technology has already been deployed with last mile distributors across sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on supporting small to medium size distributors to increase sales, lower operating costs and build sustainable and impactful businesses. The Solar Cow 4 Impact project is a unique and innovative initiative and we look forward to supporting the next stages of development and expansion.