by Sara Eisemann
SILOE, HAITI — Enèji Pwòp visited this Port-au-Prince community last month to bring a little extra brightness to the girls of Center for the Arts, Port-au-Prince, which works to empower its students through arts education. Thanks to a partnership with EarthSpark and a generous donor, Enèji Pwòp was able to present 50 girls and their mothers with an afternoon of energy literacy education and a special bonus: one of our Lanp Enèji Pwòp.
Education is one of the cornerstones of Enèji Pwòp’s retail business, from training our clean energy entrepreneurs in financial and energy literacy to providing them with the tools to teach those same concepts to their customers. At Center for the Arts, Market Development Agent Sandra Marcel contrasted traditional energy sources like kerosene and charcoal with clean energy like solar power, discussing with an enthusiastic audience the social, health, and economic benefits the Lanp Enèji Pwòp would bring to their lives.
One of the most striking things about the presentation was the students’ awareness about the ways energy and environmental issues affect their nation. The girls, most in their early teens, already know that charcoal production leads to deforestation and flooding and that using kerosene lamps hurts your eyes and can cause respiratory problems and even household fires.
Of course, this awareness comes from a daily confrontation of the energy poverty that surrounds them — and makes them eager to find solutions to problems as simple as not having enough light to draw or paint at night. At the end of the afternoon, each girl promised to take an active role in finding those solutions as a clean energy ambassador to her friends and community, teaching her peers about the benefits of her new lamp and encouraging them to save money, time, and energy with Enèji Pwòp.
by Sara Eisemann
When EarthSpark launched the first grid electricity in Les Anglais, Haiti, Jean-Jean Charles was afraid he wouldn’t be able to afford the $30 connection fee. For years, he had used kerosene lamps to light the blue house where he lives with his three children, an 8-year-old girl and two boys ages 5 and 13. Sometimes, he would charge a 12-volt battery at his church’s diesel generators and bring it home so that he could charge his mobile phone and power a small radio with a system of bare wires. He knew he needed a change, but his small income from growing peas and breadfruit and helping his father run a small school wasn't enough.
Even if he hadn’t been able to pay up-front, on-bill financing would have allowed him to pay the connection fee over time. But Jean-Jean was determined to be among the full-fledged initial customers. “I will get the money before the deadline,” he told the EKo Pwòp organizer. “And you’ll see, I’ll be your best customer.”
EKo Pwòp — short for Elektrisite Kominote Pwòp, which means “clean community electricity” — is EarthSpark’s micro-utility, currently serving 54 customers in Les Anglais and preparing to expand to a town-sized solar-powered microgrid this summer. The EKo Pwòp model is based around a pre-pay system in which customers pay for electricity before they use it. People are already well accustomed to pre-payment since most mobile phones in Haiti work on a pre-pay basis. EKo Pwòp's upfront billing structure allows customers to pay for electricity in small increments, spending only as much as they can afford and eliminating the fear of a big bill at the end of the month. People in Les Anglais typically buy kerosene every few days for a few days' worth of evening lighting fuel. With the EKo Pwòp connection, customers have access to clean electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week while paying far less than they would for kerosene or candles.
Jean-Jean did find the money, and he has put away his smoky lamps and dangerous wires. At first, he would check in with his local EKo Pwòp vendor almost every day to make sure he wasn’t using more electricity than he had on his account, but now that he has a better understanding of his electricity consumption, he has started to space his visits to the store. Now his children study by the light of the efficient lightbulb provided with the EKo Pwòp installation, and he powers his radio with electricity that’s safe for his home and his family. He reads alongside his children, too. Already fluent in Haitian Creole and conversant in French, he is working on learning a third language: English.
At his own rhythm, through the easy months and the hard, he is adamant that will be a faithful EKo Pwòp customer for years to come — and hopefully the clean, safe electricity now powering his home will help bring him more easy months than hard.
by Sara Eisemann
Cap-Haïtien — The Enèji Pwòp team on April 12 took their training program on the road and headed to Cap-Haïtien to train 23 new Retailers. National Sales and Marketing Manager Jacquelin Meremable introduced the group to Enèji Pwòp through an interactive presentation, from demonstrating the proper use of our Recho Gaz Blan (at right) to giving everyone the opportunity to practice with new marketing and sales materials.
Jacquelin said that the Site Seller is the best new tool “because it has simple pictures that anyone will understand … and because prospective customers have a chance to participate in the sales presentation.” It gave our eager Retailers a chance to participate in the presentation as well — everyone practiced in pairs, and two Retailers were brave enough to demonstrate in front of the group.
With such enthusiastic participation, it was no surprise that 74 percent of the Retailers said that these tools were the most important part of their toolkits. Another big hit was the presentation of Enèji Pwòp’s proprietary Lokasyon (Rent-to-Own) system, also developed in partnership with 17 Triggers. Customers who use Lokasyon rent Enèji Pwòp products on a nightly or weekly basis, allowing them to put the money they are already spending on charcoal or kerosene toward the cost of a new, efficient clean energy product. Retailer Auguste Clercilien said that he was excited about using this system “so that [he] can help everyone to have a light in their home.”
The team was also thrilled to officially welcome Enise Antoine to the team as the new Agent for the North department. Enise has been involved with Enèji Pwòp since 2011, when she bought her first Lanp Enèji Pwòp from a friend who suggested she become a Retailer.
Enise manages the Enèji Pwòp depot outside of Cap-Haïtien and oversees her own Retailer network while actively recruiting new Retailers. After the training, she and her husband helped Jacquelin install one of our solar home systems at the depot. The lights will be sure to attract attention, encouraging even more people to buy Enèji Pwòp products, light their homes, and improve their lives. It is our newly trained Retailers, like Norvil Saintélus Yvenique, who will truly help us make that difference. As Yvenique said:
"It’s not just about me. All Haitians should mobilize around these products
by Sara Eisemann
PORT SALUT, HAITI — Seventeen clean energy entrepreneurs from across the South department gathered on March 22 in the United Nations Environment Programme conference room to learn new ways to promote solar electricity and efficient cookstoves. Ernest Mondésir, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for the South, led a day of role-playing and presentations revolving around one question: How can we use exceptional customer service to cultivate a strong Enèji Pwòp brand and help our entrepreneurs’ small businesses grow?
Enèji Pwòp believes that customer service extends far beyond the simple process of exchanging money for products and includes everything from pre-sales service and marketing to innovative payment plans and strong technical support. Because our training process integrates all of these elements, our clean energy entrepreneurs become not just Enèji Pwòp Retailers, but community leaders who improve the lives of those around them and take pride in their work. As Retailer Lise Joseph Maître said, “My experience with Enèji Pwòp has helped many clients discover us [and our products] and helped me meet more people.”
Retailers practiced presenting the new Site Seller, which depicts the key financial and health benefits of Enèji Pwòp products as compared to traditional lamps and cookstoves. Retailer Faby Fevrier demonstrated in front of the group with Mondésir and said, “People have become more confidence in me because the products [I sell] are good quality.” With the Site Seller and additional one-on-one sales tools, Retailers build strong relationships with their customers and reinforce Enèji Pwòp’s excellent reputation.
Technician Berger Dunel emphasized another cornerstone of Enèji Pwòp customer service with a presentation about correct product usage and the technical support system we offer. Retailers were excited to learn about new products, like the larger Recho Gaz Blan (kerosene stove) with two burners, and ask questions that will help them better explain all of our products to their customers. Retailer Juline Joint said, “When I go back to my house, I can give my customers more information about the products. With this, I will become a better retailer in my neighborhood.”
All the members of our inaugural training class were excited at the end of the day to receive their official Enèji Pwòp Retailer certification and use their new skills and tools to improve their businesses. Retailer Antoine Gilbert Maître said, “Now that we have more knowledge about Enèji Pwòp products, we can do a better job selling them.” Juline added, “After this training, I feel like a better Enèji Pwòp Retailer.”
Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming trainings in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitian, and Jacmel. In the meantime, check out some of the sales and marketing materials from 17 Triggers we used in this training by clicking on the following links:
Site Seller • "Say This" Cards • Product Brochure
by Sara Eisemann
The Enèji Pwòp team has been working hard over the past month to turn the amazing marketing and sales materials from 17 Triggers into a full-fledged training program for our clean energy entrepreneurs. From toolkit to presentation, we have developed a great program for our retailers!
We started by putting together the Retailer Toolkit, which includes an official Retailer Guide, marketing materials, and a range of one-on-one sales tools. Our favorite sales tool is the new Site Seller, which illustrates the health and financial benefits of buying Enèji Pwòp products instead of traditional kerosene lamps or charcoal stoves.
The Site Seller is complemented by “Say This” cards, which provide retailers with suggested responses to common objections — for example, “I already have a stove that works!” or “How can just one person help the environment?"
These tools will help our retailers improve their sales by helping them show customers how much of a difference Enèji Pwòp products can make in their lives.
We have also prepared a full-day training presentation, which will introduce the Retailer Toolkit and give the retailers hands-on experience with the new materials. Retailers will have the opportunity to get to know the Enèji Pwòp community in their region, giving them access to a support network of others experiencing the same struggles and successes with their sales!
Berger, our technician, helped us integrate a discussion of proper product usage and common technical problems into the presentation as well. This includes everything from the proper way to start our Recho Gaz Blan (pressurized kerosene stove) to reminding customers that while our Lanp Enèji Pwòp is waterproof, our TiPowa is not!
We're looking forward to our first training in early March. Stay tuned for more updates, including our post about the official kickoff of the training program!