Our Trip to Kenya: Part 1 - Home Trials

A little over a week ago, Caroline returned to Kenya to connect with several organisations who are trialling samples of GravityLight with sales agents and off-grid families. This weekly blog will provide you with the latest updates on the trip.

With only a small batch of samples in hand, the aim of the trip is twofold:

1.      To gather feedback from partners on how to develop a sustainable and scalable distribution strategy - the challenges we need to overcome;

2.     To hear from the families about their experiences with using GravityLight – what are they using it for, what benefits do they value, and to answer any questions they have on the product.

We are doing this across both urban and rural households to observe and learn the differences in distribution models, adoption rates and use of GravityLight. We are using a mixture of semi-structured interviews with sales agents and families using GravityLight, in parallel with quantitative data collection through mobile surveys via Echomobile.

Let’s focus on one of the great organisations that are involved in these GravityLight trials: The Haller Foundation.

Based on the work of Dr. Rene Haller, who has been creating sustainable agriculture and wildlife practices since the 1970’s, The Haller Foundation benefits over 40,000 people in the Mombasa area of Kenya. At the heart of their huge variety of activities, is a passion for creating environmentally and financially sustainable livelihoods – making GravityLight a great fit.

Working with Haller’s COO, Gideon and extension workers, Michael and James - who visit, train and support local communities - we met with three off-grid families who currently use kerosene for light. All had a kerosene lamp made from a tin and wick:  

One also had a glass kerosene lamp: 

Having checked the sturdiness of their roof beams, Michael showed the families how to set up their GravityLight and use the SatLights to spread the light around their home. We also registered their warranty via mobile, through which we can now check in and send free surveys via SMS to see how they are getting on with their GravityLights, as well as find out more about how they are using GravityLights and any benefits or questions that arise. Feedback via mobile phone will be a key part of how we plan to gather feedback from a large number of GravityLight users across Kenya - after our soft launch this Autumn - so this is also giving us the chance to test and refine the types of questions asked and any challenges that arise in understanding or completing these surveys.

In our next blog, we’ll be updating you on our follow up visits to these families to hear more about their experience of GravityLight.

Many thanks to The Haller Foundation for their generous time, resources, support and expertise in these trials!