In Kenya’s rural health clinics, business performance and renewables go hand-in-hand

(World Resources Institute, 13 Mar 2019) Our blog series, Humans of Clean Energy, focuses on clean energy pioneers in the developing world and the customers they serve. The series is as part of an ongoing WRI research project to explore the social and environmental impacts of clean energy entrepreneurs.

Joyce Onyino runs a six-room private health clinic in western Kenya’s Vihiga county, mainly providing medical services to women and children. Her clinic is connected to the grid, but power outages occur frequently. She’s had to close it numerous times and even deliver babies in the dark.

So when Population Services Kenya asked Onyino about procuring a rooftop solar system in 2016, she agreed. Onyino’s clinic is one of 23 in the Tunza Family Health Network that installed renewable energy with help from Population Services Kenya, which works with clinics to improve their clinical and business operations. The clinics now have consistent access to electricity from solar and battery backup systems. And with the renewable energy and support from Population Services Kenya, they have also improved their business performance.

Reliable Clean Energy Improves Remote Health Clinics’ Business Operations

Onyino purchased her solar system for about $2,500. She made a 10 percent down payment, and Population Services Kenya provided her with a 24-month loan. Since she put the solar system to use, Onyino’s ability to keep the clinic running has continuously brought her more patients. It took her only 18 months to pay back the loan, and she now fully owns the solar system as part of her assets. Onyino has already secured another loan from KCB, the country’s largest commercial bank, which she is using to expand her clinic by another three rooms and add modern equipment. It is unusual for women entrepreneurs to get loans, Onyino said. Banks need collateral, and in Kenya, assets are typically owned by men.

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World Resources Institute, 13 Mar 2019: In Kenya’s rural health clinics, business performance and renewables go hand-in-hand