M-Kopa’s slogan is “upgrading people’s lives”. With this motto, M-Kopa has now helped over 850,000 homes to access electricity, with an impact on approximately 3.5 million peoples’ lives. The institution adopts a leading model, allowing people to buy a solar panel, together with various electric equipments, from basic chargers to rather more advanced fridges. Clients are expected to pay a 10-15% deposit and then the clients digitally top up the card in the device until the cost of the device is paid back. From then on, the M-Kopa product can be freely used.
The social impact of such a product has proved to be considerable. Before having electricity, children from rural backgrounds in Kenya were often jeopardised in their studies, as they could not do their homework once the sun was down. Houses may have a kerosene light, but this has a negative impact on health, analogous to breathing in cigarette fumes. In fact, M-Kopa reckons that their work has already prevented the equivalent of fumes from 42 million cigarettes from entering people’s lungs and resulted in a 96% increase in the ability to study for children living in M-Kopa powered houses.
This equipment isn’t purely about improving the quality of life. Many of those owning M-Kopa products are putting them to rather productive use, with 46% of clients using the system to generate revenues.