Day two of real impact in Kenya: A tour of solar powered farms
Stella Tai visits SunCulture, an organization that provides solar-powered tech to smallholder farms in Kenya
This winter, I travelled back to my home country of Kenya to see how the community development work is affecting the lives of the people there. As Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager for Praxis Mutual Funds, I’ve come to understand a great deal about impact investing — but it’s often been from behind a computer screen, over the phone or at a conference.
That was just one of the reasons I was excited to come to Kenya and share the work your investment dollars support there. Over the next several days, I will share some stories of my travels and the real-world impact that investing with Praxis makes possible.
On my first day of impact site visits in Kenya, we started by visiting SunCulture, an organization that uses off-grid solar technology to provide smallholder farms with reliable access to water, irrigation, lighting, and mobile charging to meet some of the power needs of over 520 million smallholder households across Africa. As part of the visit, I met with two of their clients at their farms to see how solar power has helped them grow their businesses.
After visiting SunCulture’s office in Nairobi, we drove about 30 minutes to visit the first borrower – a small-scale farmer, whose farm produces kale, spinach, bananas, tomatoes and mangoes. Prior to purchasing the solar pumping system from SunCulture, she struggled to draw enough water manually from her well every day to keep her farm irrigated.
Since acquiring her solar-powered water pump, production on her farm has gone up significantly — which has created more income for her family and helped her pay the school fees for her four children. Once she pays off the current system, she hopes to go back to SunCulture and purchase a drip irrigation system which will make her farming even easier and further increase her production.
A short drive away, I met with another SunCulture client. The wife of this family had heard of SunCulture from a friend and had convinced her husband to buy the solar-powered system for her cassava, kale and mango farm.
Both SunCulture clients I met were excited to tell us about the boosted productivity of their farms and how that productivity has given their families increased opportunities. As we left the second client’s home, they gifted me with freshly harvested cassava and mangoes from their garden, with an invitation to come back anytime.
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations like SunCulture through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to invest approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments. SunCulture is supported by Calvert Impact Capital’s Off-Grid Energy Access Fund, which supports the growth of energy access companies across Africa and develop their capacity to sustainably access capital at scale.
Looking to learn more about Praxis Mutual Funds’ commitment to real impact? Download our 2021 Real Impact Report to learn about our seven distinct impact strategies that show how investments can support and contribute to the change we want to see in the world.
Read more about real impact in Kenya
- Day one of real impact in Kenya: Stella sets the scene for firsthand community development investment stories.
- Day three of real impact in Kenya: How a home appliance can change lives.
- Day four of real impact in Kenya: Motorbikes and the thread of impact.
- Day five of real impact in Kenya: Providing economic opportunity to rural communities.