Mobile Users in Rural Areas can Charge Their Phones Using the Solar-Powered Juabar Kiosks
In rural Tanzania where there is no electricity connection from the national grid, locals use kerosene lamps to light up their homes at night and are unable to own cell phones and electronics. For those who have cell phones, they have to travel long distance to find a place with electricity in order to charge their batteries. Even then, phone users would have limited use to their phones in an attempt of not draining the battery fast. This was the case until Juabar was launched in rural parts of Tanzania. Juabar means solar bar in English; it is a solar-powered kiosk used for charging mobile phones and small electronic devices. Juabar can charge between 10 to 20 phones at once by converting sunlight into electricity through the solar panels fitted on it.
It has become quite popular in rural parts of Tanzania that are off-grid. Juabar was founded back in 2012 by Sachi Decou and Olivia Nava, and operates by leasing out the solar-powered kiosks to the micro-businesses established within the rural areas. The Juabar kiosks are set up out in the sun where customers can come to charge their phones at a small fee hence also generating income for the entrepreneurs.
The team first launched their first Juabar kiosk about a year ago, and on average their operators charge over 20 phones per day. Some of the operators have also started expanding their charging businesses in a franchise partnership with Juabar. This has lead to significant poverty reduction by providing employment and business opportunities, in addition to enabling people in the rural to be able to use their mobile phones.
There has also been an almost similar initiative operating in rural Tanzania dubbed Karibu Solar. It is comprises of a solar panel, two LED lamps and a recharging system. Karibu Solar sells their units to micro-business who in turn retail them to end users or can charge their customers’ phones at a fee The one difference between Juabar and Karibu Solar is that Juabar is a mobile kiosk only for recharging phone and small electronics. While, Karibu Solar comprises of a phone recharging feature as well as a lighting feature that users can light up their houses at night instead of the kerosene lamp which can be a fire and health hazard.