EcoZoom Blog

Why do Kenyans love the Multi Light? March 22 2017

Many solar powered home systems on the market are made up of 3 bulbs which are connected to an external battery using lots of messy wires. Imagine how inconvenient it is to have such a solar home system, in a household that has separate units?

It is not unusual for a rural Kenyan household to be made up of several rooms which are not connected to each other. On one property, you might find the bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom each as a stand alone unit.

Well... that is why we designed the flexible EcoZoom Multi Light! And what else? Keep reading...

The Multi Light is made up of three bright solar powered bulbs which stay connected to the solar panel ONLY for charging! Each bulb has 2 brightness settings. The product also comes with a portable power bank for phone charging. Once charged, the owner can use each component however they like.



We talk to our customers- they agree that portability is the game changer. On a visit to Kitui, Mary told us that her husband is a boda boda (Kenyan motorbike taxi) rider who carries his power bank with him to work. Mary also keeps one bulb in her handbag, in case she finds herself walking home at night!

Thanks to valuable feedback from end users, we have created some more affordable options using the same popular orange bulbs as the Multi Light.

The new Duo Light comes with two bulbs and a 4W panel. Mobile phones can also be charged from the panel.

The new Single Solar comes as one bulb with a small panel. There is an option to have phone charging included for a small price.

And finally, we have the Single Lamp. This is a single bulb which can be added on to existing systems to increase the size i.e. if added to the original Multi Light, you would go from having 3 bulbs to 4.

This string of products makes up the EcoZoom Multi Light Range!

The user decides how big, or how small they want their home system to be. This means that each part of the household or business can run on solar lighting, regardless of how many rooms or family members there are!

This Multi Light Range concept has opened many exciting doors for our EcoZoom product development team.

We look forward to continuing our focus groups and customer satisfaction surveys in order to bring people what they want.

Thank you for your continued support!

 


Where do our stoves come from? March 05 2017

Our stoves are made by a family owned, private stove manufacturer founded in 1979. It caters to a variety of markets in need of clean cookstoves, and is dedicated to manufacturing culturally appropriate products based on the needs of each end user. 

EcoZoom CEO Oli Raison visited our factory late last year and got some great photos that we wanted to share with you, keep reading! 

The following video clearly explains the benefits of clean cookstoves and shows how our stoves are made!

A lightweight clay is mixed, molded and fired in a traditional kiln. Our factory can produce half a million stoves a year! With these high production numbers, quality is crucial. We are confident that each stove leaving the factory meets the required specifications!

EcoZoom works closely with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to address the needs of the ever changing market. These relationships have shown our manufacturer the tremendous impact that clean cookstoves have on people's lives!

Visit our website to learn more about our clean cookstoves at www.ecozoom.com. Thank you!

 


EcoZoom stoves now available in Germany! January 30 2017

EcoZoom rocket stoves are ideal for outdoor cooking and are now available in Germany! Use them for camping, keep one in your summer house or store it for emergency preparedness. Follow this link to shop now, or continue reading to learn more!

Our new distributor in Germany was initially not sure if there was room for another rocket stove on the German market. As soon as he tested our Versa stove- he was convinced!

 "I continue to regard Petromax's rocket furnace as a good product, but if I would have to choose one of the two, it would be the EcoZoom Versa!"

"The EcoZoom Versa rocket oven has a more robust feel than the Petromax. Nothing can be broken! Only 200g of charcoal boils a liter of water within 7 minutes, and keeps cooking for another 45 minutes! All this without recharging and without smoke. A commercial 2.5 kg pack of charcoal is sufficient for 12-14 long cooking cycles. In other words- buy a pack of charcoal for €3.99 and you have a fuel supply for up to two weeks."

When you purchase our stoves in more developed countries, your investment directly impacts the EcoZoom operation here in East Africa. These funds ensure that we can continue to distribute clean burning stoves to those that need them most. Women and girls spend hours daily collecting fuel and cooking on open fires. This affects the health and well being of the whole family.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing some user photos from Germany!

Visit the EcoZoom Germany shop today HERE!

 


Lend $25 through Kiva and help bring life changing products to 40,000 Kenyans! January 22 2017

EcoZoom began working with crowdfunding late last year. We started with Trine, who are helping us raise enough money to enable us to distribute our life changing solar products across Kenya. Those keen to invest must do so through a European bank account. So far we have raised almost 70,000 euro! 

This year we began working with KivaBy lending as little as $25 through Kiva, anyone (including people in the US and Canada) can help EcoZoom provide clean cookstoves and solar lights to thousands more Kenyans!

Our goal is to raise $50,000 as quickly as possible- we have already raised almost $25,000!

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco. Their mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. They support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Visit our Kiva profile HERE! Follow our Trine progress HERE!

Please share this message with your friends and family- your loans will be returned to you!


EcoZoom visits the KSPCA! January 16 2017

We started off 2017 with a visit to the KSPCA (Kenya society for the protection and care of animals), who have been helping animals since 1910! They are the only charitable animal welfare organisation in Kenya that deals for the most part with domestic animals.

What do they do?

The KSPCA provides shelter to animals who are abandoned, homeless, lost or victims of cruelty. They conduct spay and neuter campaigns (as they strongly believe in controlling the domestic animal population, rather than killing healthy animals) and teach humane slaughter of livestock (after seeing how animals suffer in abattoirs). In addition, they teach school children about animal welfare and they respond to over 6000 calls per year reporting cruelty and abandonment! These calls are often followed by investigation and rescue.

As the facility shelters hundreds of animals, they are cooking huge amounts of food daily! EcoZoom donated a Dura wood stove to the kitchen, which will save on firewood and cook with 60% less smoke! We also donated four sets of solar lighting systems, which will enable them to light the shelter at night without using electricity or dirty kerosene lamps.

Sadly, most animal charity donations tends to go towards bigger organisations that care for wild or endangered animals. This is great, but it means that the KSPCA isn’t receiving all the help they need!

Visit their website and help the KSPCA continue their work by making a small contribution through this page: http://www.kspca-kenya.org/get-involved/


EcoZoom stoves arrive in Zambia! January 08 2017

We recently visited Zambia to be present for the latest uptake of EcoZoom charcoal stoves. Zambia is one of the most forested countries in Africa with over 60% covered by woodland. It also has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, estimated at up to 300,000 hectares per year (according to USAID). Gas is also hard to come by, so the charcoal industry is booming.

All these factors make EcoZoom stoves extremely suitable for the area. Our stoves will be valuable in the fight to save Zambia’s forests!

 

 

A traditional Zambian ‘mbaula’ (stove) has little to no means of retaining heat. For this reason, large amounts or charcoal are used each time the stove is lit. See the below comparison of a mbaula (left) and a traditional Kenyan stove (right).

So, we took our fuel efficient Zoom Jet Economy stove to Zambia, and it was a huge success! Compared to a traditional Kenyan jiko, our stove saves up to 70% on charcoal. Compare it to a mbaula, and it saves up to 90% on charcoal!

“Normally I use one bag of charcoal a day. Now, after 5 days with my EcoZoom stove, it is still not finished!” Mary.

 

 

In Zambia we have partnered with Vitalite and Live Well to ensure that our stoves reach the people who need them most.

Vitalite is a social enterprise that distributes renewable energy products and services in rural and urban areas. Their goal is to provide clean energy access to the 75% of Zambians who are not connected to the grid, and to reduce the ‘poverty tax’, where the poorest are paying the most to meet their basic needs. They use efficient market-based approaches to deliver affordable clean-energy household products.

Live Well is a for-profit social enterprise owned by CARE international. Their mission is to improve the health and economic status of under-served Zambians. They recruit, train and support a network of community health entrepreneurs in selling products that positively impact people’s health in rural and peri-urban communities.

 

 

We are excited to grow our presence in Zambia and to help reduce the alarming rate of deforestation in such a beautiful country!

Learn more about Live Well here and Vitalite here.


We wish you a prosperous 2017! December 23 2016

Dear all,

As 2016 draws to a close we are pleased to be able to look back and say that this year has been truly great for EcoZoom. Not only have we firmly established ourselves within the solar industry, we have had our best year of sales across Africa!

We believe that 2017 will see us go from strength to strength and we are excited about our plans to launch new products and to enter new countries.

Of course, this success is only possible with the support of all of our customers, partners, employees, investors and advocates so we’d like to say a special THANK YOU to all of you for helping us build a great company!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2017!

The EcoZoom Team.


Trine and EcoZoom partner for crowdfunding! December 14 2016

EcoZoom is now working with impact start-up TRINE! Together we aim to bring solar power to 44,000 more people in Kenya. Over 35,000 euro has already been raised! Investors will enjoy a 6.37% expected return rate, more than most banks will get you.

Read more about the TRINE/EcoZoom project and financial details here.

The ‘TRINE Way’- 1.2 billion people around the world currently lack access to electricity. TRINE seeks to solve this problem by closing the gap between private capital in developed countries and local solar partners in emerging markets. 

When you invest in EcoZoom through TRINE crowdfunding, your investment will be part of a loan which EcoZoom will use to buy 15,000 solar systems, providing clean solar energy to over 44,000 people! The solar power that EcoZoom lamps provide is life changing for many, and benefits entire families tremendously.

TRINE’s project team travelled to Sibanga in Kenya with us to visit a micro-finance institute (MFI), which we partner with to sell our systems on credit. One of the customers is Mary. She grows maize to feed her family and sells dairy from her three cows to make money. Each day she can sell about 5 litres of milk for around 1.40 EUR. With this money, she covers her costs and finances her children’s education. In total Mary has 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

With solar power, young girls and boys like Mary’s grandchildren can use the lights once the sun sets to continue doing their homework, rather than sitting by dim kerosene lamps which emit toxic fumes. Women can use the lights in the kitchen, and they can be placed outside at night to scare off wild animals that prey on livestock. The entire family can listen to the radio and charge their phones using the portable power bank, or directly from the panel. This eliminates the need for them to travel to areas with electricity to pay for their phones to be charged!

Mary’s kerosene lamp used to emit harmful fumes, was costly to fuel and was damaging to the environment. She now has an EcoZoom Radiolamp. With it she can light her home, charge her phone, and listen to the news on the radio without those harmful fumes and running costs!

Read more about the TRINE/EcoZoom project and financial details here! Help us bring solar power to thousands more!


EcoZoom Solar Products approved by Lighting Global! November 10 2016

EcoZoom is happy to announce that both our Radio Lamp and Multi-Light solar lighting systems have met the Lighting Global quality standards! Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s platform for supporting sustainable growth of the international off-grid lighting market. The aim is to increase energy access to people who do not have access to regular electricity.

We are currently selling these products in Kenya, and are looking for growth opportunities globally!

 

 

According to Lighting Global, close to 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without regular access to electricity. This severely impacts educational and economic activities, and has adverse effects on the day-to-day quality of life and health. Kerosene lamps are expensive to maintain and harmful to health. Solar powered lighting offers a long lasting, in-expensive solution to this problem.

 

 

The Lighting Global program promotes sustainability, provides market insights and quality assurance for off-grid lighting systems and technology. Lighting Global supports Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Pacific, which lead programs in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea, among others. The rigorous Quality Assurance framework involves measuring, benchmarking and communicating information about the performance and quality of these products.

Since 2007, Lighting Africa has empowered more than 35 million people with access to clean, affordable and safe lighting. It aims to reach 250 million more by 2030, currently operating in 11 countries.

With the EcoZoom Radio Lamp, users can charge their mobile phones, light their homes with 4 different brightness settings and listen to the Radio or music from an MP3 player. With the Multi-Light, users have 3 portable bulbs with 2 brightness settings and up to 10 hours of light per bulb. They can also charge their phone at home or on the go with the portable power bank.

We are happy to be associated with Lighting Global and look forward to bringing more quality solar powered products to the market in the future!

If you are interested in contacting us to hear more about buying or distributing our products, reach us here

Read more about Lighting Global approved products here.


EcoZoom meets Mama Solar! October 27 2016

EcoZoom recently took a trip to Eastlands in Nairobi to meet the well-known “Mama Solar”. Stewart MacLachlan from EcoZoom UK had been in touch with her for the donation of three EcoZoom charcoal stoves to NAREWAMA.

Faustine Lutta Odaba is the founder and CEO of NAREWAMA (Natural Resources and Waste Management Alliance) and a prominent public figure in the solar community in Kenya. Working in the solar energy field for over 10 years showed her what rural women needed most. She started NAREWAMA in 2010.

Mama Solar began with the dissemination of solar cooking set-ups which use the sun. However, “when the sun is not there, what should we use?” she asked, which is how she was introduced to energy saving cookstoves. Rather than cooking on inefficient open fires or traditional stoves, she now relies on her EcoZoom Jiko Bora to save fuel, time and to better her health.

One range of products she provides are heat-retaining slow cookers which resemble padded bags or baskets. Rather than cooking an entire meal on an open fire or stove; the meal only needs to be started off cooking on a stove. It is then transferred directly into one of the slow cookers. Here, due to excellent insulation, the meal will continue to cook for hours. This greatly reduces the need for fuel. It allows the user to tend to other matters while their meal cooks safely and unattended.

Before we delivered her EcoZoom stove, Mama Solar was preparing her meals for the slow cookers on a traditional Kenyan ‘jiko’ (stove in Kiswahili), which used more fuel than she felt necessary and troubled her with smoke. Our charcoal stove saves her up to 70% on fuel and toxic smoke, making her cooking much more efficient.

Mama Solar’s cooking methods encourage people not to use three stone fires or inefficient stoves. Along with showing people how to make their own slow cooker baskets, she also shows those in rural areas how to set up makeshift solar ovens.

Mama Solar is routinely invited to speak at agricultural shows, women’s groups, schools and environmental organizations. She plans to reach thousands more and educate people on the diverse energy saving methods that can be implemented in their homes. She believes that people in rural areas need this information the most, as they rely on firewood and charcoal to cook all of their meals. She even shows people how to boil and sterilize water for drinking, using the sun!

It was so inspiring for EcoZoom to visit her and see just how much an individual can accomplish in the field of clean energy! We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Mama Solar and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Thank you for having us! 

Have a look at the NAREWAMA website here.

See Faustine making her baskets here.

Article in Haines Solar Cookers here.

NAREWAMA Facebook page here.


Stove donations in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa! October 02 2016

Last week we visited Kibera for the second time this year to hand out more charcoal stoves, thanks to your donations!
Each family received a stove which will last them up to 5 years and save them up to 70% on fuel costs and toxic emissions. This is a huge benefit for people who cook daily on open fires or inefficient stoves.

Be a part of our next donation for just $40! Head to our Donate a Stove page. 


Kenya: EcoZoom Radio Campaign and Market Activation 2016! September 18 2016

We are delighted to announce that with a grant awarded by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, we have launched the first EcoZoom radio campaign in Kenya! In the campaign we inform Kenyans nationwide of the benefits of our clean cookstoves and invite them to buy. Our end users enjoy less smoke, faster cooking time and up to 70% fuel savings on charcoal or wood!

Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/micha-dhanjal/ecozoom-kenya-radio-campaign

As the campaign airs, the EcoZoom team is present at the market days in the associated areas, so that customers can hear about us on the radio and then visit our stand where we demonstrate all the benefits of our products.

At the moment in Kenya, our most popular products are our charcoal stoves- the Jiko Bora and the Jiko Fresh, both based on the traditional Kenyan ‘jiko’ (stove in Kiswahili). In addition, we are showing customers our new Radio Lamp and Multi-Light solar lights which provide people with up to 50 hours of lighting, mobile phone charging and radio!

September sees our campaign airing in the Nairobi region on Maisha FM, with market days in Kawangware and Pipeline. In October we move through the Rift Valley with Chamgei FM, November at the coast with Baraka FM and finally December in the central region with Inooro FM

Our market activation involves placing informative banners and posters with our contact details at important street points, being present in the areas in our EcoZoom gear and generally having fun while engaging with customers!

We will partner with MEC/Equity Bank, Juhudi Kilimo, Yehu MicroFinance, Ark Development and Livelyhoods in order to reach a greater audience during our ground activities.

If you are in Kenya, keep your ears and eyes open for us around the country! Follow our campaign activities by liking our EcoZoom Kenya facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ecozoomkenya