EcoZoom Blog

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


EcoZoom Accessories are here! August 03 2016

EcoZoom is proud to introduce you to our cast iron cooking accessories and the stove carrier bag!

Cast iron cookware:

We recently added a cast iron dutch oven, frying pan and grill pan to our portfolio! You can use cast iron cookware on our EcoZoom cookstoves, in an oven or even on your cooker indoors. Cast iron is excellent at conducting heat and staying very hot. It lasts long and is easy to clean and maintain.  

 

  • The dutch oven is a sturdy 5kg, with a volume of 9.5 litres- perfect for soups and stews or even just for boiling water! It also has a lid lifter, bag and a stand.
  • The frying pan weighs 2kg and has a volume of 2.2 litres. Great for frying eggs and bacon in the morning on a camping trip!
  • The grill pan weighs 3.5kg and works great for grilling steaks or sausages at a barbeque, or even for pancakes!

All three items are seasoned with vegetable oil, and like most cast iron products, they are extremely durable and will last for generations! We are currently selling them in Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.

Stove Carrier Bag:

The new EcoZoom Stove Carrier Bag is available for sales across the United States and Canada. It will soon be available to buy in the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and Australia as well. Like our Facebook page to stay up to date with the latest news on its availability!

With it, you can easily transport your stove and fuel supplies anywhere you go. It keeps the stove protected from scratches and bumps, and the handle makes it easier to carry the stove for you and your family.

  • Conveniently carries your stove, along with small accessories or lighting material.
  • It fits a Versa or a Dura stove, along with the potskirt.
  • Made of strong and durable material.
  • It can be used in all types of weather and is water resistant. 

Use the different compartments to store anything you like. Get more organized with the EcoZoom carrier bag!

Interested in hearing more about these new accessories? Contact micha@ecozoom.co.ke.

 


EcoZoom has landed in Australia! July 19 2016

Australia, being a mostly temperate country hasn’t really been exposed to the genius that is fuel efficient rocket stoves. Our newest supplier based in Australia was searching for an efficient outdoor cookstove and happily stumbled across our products. We have been keen to expand into Australia, so the opportunity suited us both very well.

Australia has a rich outdoor and BBQ culture. Combine an EcoZoom stove with a grill plate and you have the tools for a perfect barbeque, only more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Our stoves are easy to light and will have you cooking in no time; just a handful of sticks or charcoal can cook an entire meal. Our stoves also use dry biomass fuel, perfect for when you are out in the bush!

The stoves are compact and convenient, easy to carry around wherever you go. We also sell cast iron cooking accessories and a stove carrier bag. Due to the stove efficiency, and the fact that wood or biomass can be found anywhere in Australia, you don’t have to carry around any fuel supplies!

As Australia shivers through one of its coldest winters on record, spring approaches and we look forward to distributing as many of these stoves as we can, so you can enjoy cooking on them as much as we do! Looking for a fun, safe and eco-friendly way to cook outside? Then an EcoZoom stove is for you. While cooking up some eggs on the Versa Stove, our Australian distributor only used 6 kindling sticks, and had the fire burning for 40 minutes!

Visit our Australian website www.ecozoomstove.com.au and check out the great range of stoves and accessories we have!


EcoZoom launches Solar Radio Lamp, Multi-Light and low-cost charcoal stove! June 27 2016

Our new products have launched! Here at EcoZoom we have been working hard for months to be able to introduce you to our new merchandise! We are super excited to bring you the first EcoZoom solar products; the Radio Lamp and the Multi-Light! In addition, we unveiled our latest charcoal fuelled rocket stove, the Zoom Jet Economy.

 

 

Solar Radio Lamp

This will be the first integrated solar radio lamp of its kind in Kenya. In some African countries there are areas where people do not have access to electricity. For many of these people, radio is a key source for information. Our Solar Radio Lamp is a great solution. With the Radio lamp, families no longer have to rely on inefficient kerosene lamps- fuel costs are eliminated! Users can listen to music with the radio or MP3 player for up to 25 hours. They can also charge their phones and light their homes for up to 40 hours!

Solar Multi-Light with Power Bank

Just like the Radio lamp, the EcoZoom Multi-light eliminates kerosene costs for families living without access to regular electricity. With the Multi-light, families can use the three detachable bulbs in separate rooms, or even outside! The user can charge their phone at home, or on the go with the solar charged portable power bank. This is a tremendous help as many people have mobile phones, but no access to electricity. The MultiLight t is durable and offers up to 30 hours of lighting.

 

Zoom Jet Economy

The new Zoom Jet Economy is a result of continual end-user research we have been doing in Kenya. Our current Jet 2 charcoal stove is popular, but for many people- not affordable. We developed a stove which performs similarly, but at a lower price. This model is $5-10 cheaper! It makes healthy and efficient cooking more affordable! This charcoal stove saves an average of 65% on fuel, reduces toxic emissions and cooks fast. It has a 26cm cast iron top, a one year warranty and a lifetime up to 5 years! Silicone grips on the handles prevent burns, and non-slip rubber feet prevent the stove from sliding.

We look forward to evolving with the solar and clean cookstove industries and will continue to develop our new and existing products to suit the needs of our users, worldwide!

For more information about these products, or to find out how to order them, contact micha@ecozoom.co.ke.


Improving Lives with Finlays’ CSR Program! May 17 2016

Finlays is one of the biggest manufacturers of tea in Kenya! It is a global brand with extensive tea and horticultural interests in Kenya, South Africa and Sri Lanka complemented by global trading, packaging and extraction activities. Its primary markets are in the United States, United Kingdom, Asia and Europe.

Over the years, Finlays has played an important role in the development of the tea industry through pioneering tea research, development and production. Finlays’ Tea Estates in Kenya and Sri Lanka cover more than 15,000 hectares and produce 40 million kilos of black tea each year. Finlays is the largest trader of Fairtrade tea in the world and largest roaster of coffee in the United Kingdom.

Karin Benjamin is the National Sales Manager here at EcoZoom. Karin joined EcoZoom in February 2014 as a sales associate in charge of Western, Nyanza & Rift Valley provinces. His main role is to open up new sales channels and support existing clients.

In June of 2014, EcoZoom formed a partnership with Finlays led by Karin. Finlays has over 15,000 employees living in close quarters who were using kerosene due to lack of electricity in the area. They were therefore experiencing problems with lighting their homes and charging their phones, turning to kerosene for their energy needs. 

Finlays planned to implement a policy whereby they would eliminate kerosene use by 100% and one of the measures they took was the adoption of clean energy solar lights for their staff.

Through partnership with GIZ, several players in the solar industry were invited to showcase their products, and ours matched their needs! We have so far sold almost 7000 solar product sets to Finlays, and continue to work with them to date. The employees have now taken the solar technologies to their rural homes, benefiting other family members. 

Thanks to our products, over 70M on kerosene costs will be saved per year. That translates to 1.2M litres of kerosene! 

Finlays and Unilever have championed clean energy adoption in Kericho. We are proud to be associated with these brands that continuously embrace Sustainable Development initiatives and empower their employees.

“Asante kwa kutupea chai.”