Project Everest

Key Partners

Powering Through 'Till July

With sadly just five days of project remaining for the summer period, the energy team here in Malawi have no plans of slowing down. Over the last month a large emphasis has been put on the business and supply aspect and building long lasting relationships in country. We have been smashing stakeholder meeting after stakeholder meeting, and still have another five planned for next week. From these meetings we have met some charismatic and lovely people who are all more than willing to help.

Last Friday after a local bus trip to the University, we caught up with Professor Henry, an absolute legend the January team met. After discussing the current stage of our project and the direction it’s heading, he wanted to set up a Project Everest ‘building centre’ in his village to show our prototype and educate villagers on solar energy. With his village having a population of 5 thousand people and the surrounding villages containing up to 25 thousand, the potential audience to showcase ModSol to is huge. His only disappointment was being unable to set this up next week. Other legends at the University including our interns and Andrew (an electrical engineer tutor) continue to be a valuable aspect to the team, who have provided valuable knowledge and experience in helping improve our current prototype.

To continue improving upon the prototype and develop a greater understanding of local’s current phone usage, lighting and solar products, surveying is constantly required. However, surveying in Malawi can be an extremely slow progress, with many dirt roads out to villages full of pot holes and hills the van struggles to ascend. Not to mention the numerous flat tyres and breaking down in the hot African sun. Therefore, after meetings with Jon Strand, the CEO of Kumudzi Kuwale, a Malawian business located in central Malawi who have been selling similar pico-solar products for the previous five years, the Energy team hit gold. Jon has offered us the opportunity to share survey data through an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding). The energy team is currently reading through the MoU and are hopeful of coming to an agreement with Kumudzi Kuwale before the end of the month. Kumudzi Kuwale gather feedback on all the products they sell, and constantly iterate their product designs to suit locals. For our team to access this data, the prototype design can be streamlined towards locals, and will eliminate a lot of time spent surveying locals to develop a greater understanding on what type of lights they use, how often they charge phones and so on.

Having one MoU signed for the month would be good, however signing two would be awesome and is something we are currently gunning towards. Earlier in the month we met with Gaftin, an entrepreneur with a master’s in electrical engineering, who is super keen to work with us. Last week in a meeting with Gaftin, he expressed interest in working on improving the prototype during March to June when no team is in country. This would obviously be a huge step forward to developing the prototype, however we are currently indecisive since the energy assessment has only been running for four mouths in total. We have another meeting lined up this week with Gaftin, where we will have a further discussion regarding the next few months.

With some massive goals set for the final week of February, gaining local and international supply contacts and receiving all required legal permit documents, the next team will continue to smash goals and hopefully sell the first ModSol prototype and enable greater electricity access for all in Malawi.

Jock Willoughby Feb 19, 2018

Awesome work team!! That MoU sounds like a really good step forward. Is the sole intent of it to gain access to the data? Or are you partnering up to sell products together?

Reply 2

Scott Jucius Feb 19, 2018

The purpose of the MoU with Kumudzi Kuwale is to create a mutually beneficial framework in which we will both be sharing experiences with introducing solar products into rural areas in Malawi and survey data regarding current solutions and costing.

Reply 3

Wade Tink Jul 2, 2018

Suggest you follow-up with this Mallory as there doesn't seem to be anything referred to in the handover about these contacts.

Reply 0

Mallory Dobner Jul 2, 2018

They are in the appendix, we have still been in contact with them but as the direction of the project has changed the capacity of these stakeholders was much more focused on their ability to build our own product rather than to distribute and have a payment plan, which has reduced our relationships and the plans for MoUs with them

Reply 0

Wade Tink Jul 2, 2018

Status label added: Key Partners

Reply 0

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