by Allison Archambault
A Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Friends of EarthSpark,
This holiday season, EarthSpark has much to be grateful for. With your support, we have planned, funded, and launched our first clean energy store in Haiti; we have sent over 5,500 solar lamps to women and girls who have been living under tents and tarps since the January earthquake; and we have been recognized for our work in Haiti by the Clinton Global Initative. For your role in these successes, we give thanks to you.
Meet the Clean Energy Store Employees and Board
In our last quarterly progress report, we told you about the festive grand opening of our first Clean Energy Store on July 7th in the town of Les Anglais, Haiti. We had high hopes for the store, but knew that many challenges lay ahead. Before the store opened we addressed as many of these challenges as possible: we spent over a year in Les Anglais fielding various surveys to collect market research and create an energy poverty baseline; we brought Diogo Texeira, a retired McKinsey management consultant to work with EarthSpark and our community partners to develop a governance structure, management responsibilities, and a financial accounting system; we brought Bill Nichols, another McKinsey alum, to further develop the operational capacity of the store; EarthSpark Energy Systems Engineer Peter McPhee conducted a week-long training session on solar home system installation and maintenance; the store hosted a team from Fonkoze, Haiti’s premier microfinance institution, to work out the details of our joint “energy lending” program.
Meet the Suppliers to the Clean Energy Store
When asked how the first three months of the Clean Energy Store had affected him, Jean, the man who hand-makes efficient stoves in Les Anglais, said he had been able to send both his son and his daughter to school because of his increased sales through the Store.
Meet the Customers of the Clean Energy Store
Magazen Enèji Pwòp in Les Anglais offers a range of products, and its customers are equally as diverse. Leonie, a woman who cooks at the market, saves US$0.25 in charcoal expenses each day simply because she switched from a standard cookstove to an efficient ‘miracle’ cookstove (Recho Mirak in Haitian Creole) that uses less fuel for the same cooking performance. Taking home an extra US$0.25 per day significantly increases her profits from her small market stand.
PACT and EarthSpark Light Up Haiti for the Holidays
This summer, PACT, an online underwear brand that blends design and sustainability with support for powerful social and environmental causes, came across EarthSpark’s work via Citizen Effect’s website. Inspired by the stories of women in tent camps using the solar lights after the earthquake, PACT approached EarthSpark about donating a portion of the profits from their 2010 holiday collection.