Context As part of its community empowerment program, Barefoot College (not to be confused with Barefoot Power) has launched the “solar mama initiative”, which trains rural and illiterate grandmothers to become solar engineers. The program utilises elder women because they are more likely to stay and serve their village communities compared to youth. In Burkina Faso, one of the pilot markets, Barefoot College wished to take the project to scale.
The big question How can the Barefoot solar granny initiative be re-designed to enhance scalability and long-term financial sustainability, reducing a reliance on donor-funding?
Approach Marketing for Impact orchestrated the necessary field research, consisting of numerous qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and workshops. The findings of analysis were delivered in the form of a report and an interactive workshops with the relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem.
The research goals included, but were not limited to, to understanding
Experienced likes and dislikes of the proposition (product, service, payment facility)
Experienced likes and dislikes of the selection procedure
Challenges experienced in maintaining the solar system
The social impact on the solar engineers, and the product users
The interest of NGO’s and donors to support the up-scaling of the project
Result Based on the study, report and workshops the team in Burkina Faso adopted three main recommendations: to transform the value proposition, alter payment needs and increase the availability of maintenance by creating a value chain of spare parts. To this day, Barefoot College is still utilising the findings of the research to expand into other nearby west african countries.