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  • Writer's pictureHenry

Strengthening Our Partnerships

Partnerships are key to KiloWatts for Humanity’s success in delivering on our mission of improving people’s live through energy access and business development. In late June, Rafael Castro and I traveled to Zambia to strengthen KWH’s connection to one of our current partners, Caritas Monze, and to explore new partnerships.

We met with Fr. Zulu, Caritas Monze Director of Development, and Fikani Phiri, Water Development Assistant. KWH has a long working relationship with Fikani. He has been our main contact since we first met Caritas Monze in 2018 and was instrumental in the success of our installations at Cheeba and Kanchoma. Fr. Zulu is new in his position as of this year but has spent much of his career working in South Province, Zambia.

Over three days Fr. Zulu, Fikani, Rafael, and I traveled to three of the roughly 50 communities Caritas Monze works with directly. On the way, we met with other Caritas staff, including two Caritas Monze field staff, Daniel and Cloud, who organize community groups. Each of Caritas Monze’s field staff work with at least 4 community groups, each with about 40 participating households. The field staff aim to visit each community group once a week.

Upon arrival at each community, community group members greeted us with a welcome song. The community group leaders then opened the meeting, conducted routine business, and turned the meeting over to Caritas staff, Rafael, and me. In all three communities we asked about the on-going

development projects the groups are working on with the help of Caritas Monze. We heard, with translation help from a community member, Fikani, or Fr. Zulu, that each group has an active

community banking program that provides small loads to members which they use for income

generating activities, for example trading fish or selling dry goods. We also heard about on-going animal husbandry projects. After hearing from the community groups, Rafael and I explained KiloWatts for Humanity’s work and our energy kiosks.

The next step for each community group is to decide whether our work fits with their development goals. If a group decides that an energy kiosk would be appropriate in their community, they will work with Caritas Monze staff to develop a proposal for the kiosk. The proposal will include a business plan, a kiosk management plan, and a location for the kiosk, among other things. After meeting with the communities Rafael and I agreed we hope to work with each of these communities in the future. It is clear that each of the three community groups we met is actively improving livelihoods in their communities and that Caritas Monze has a well-organized team helping community groups with development projects. In other words, both the community groups and Caritas Monze are just the kind of partners we want.

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