Mary Namatovu

Mary Namatovu

When Molly Namatovu first heard about solar light systems she knew she had to have one. Several years later, the 56-year old grandmother of 7 became the first person in her community of Kitengesa, near Masaka, to receive a FINCA Micro Energy loan. She strategically installed the one-light solar system in her home allowing the one bulb to provide light in two separate rooms. Molly clearly recalls the night the metaphorical light went on for her – when she knew that solar energy was the only answer. Her grandchildren had been at her house and she needed to run an errand. Since it was dark, she carefully lit a kerosene lamp for them and left. When she returned, she was struck with great fear upon entering her house. Lying in the middle of the floor was the still lit kerosene lamp surrounded by her sleeping grandchildren. She imagined what could have happened had the lamp been knocked over while they slept. She had heard stories of homes, and worse yet, lives being lost from unattended kerosene lamps and knew it was a lesson she never wanted to learn again. Since the switch to solar she couldn’t be happier. She no longer worries about the safety of her family and is pleased to note a number of other benefits too. Before installing solar power, Molly spent a large portion of her income on paraffin and kerosene for lighting, as well charging her cell phone at a local business. Charging was not only expensive at nearly $2/charge, but also led to missed phone calls and worries of battery swapping. Since installing solar, Molly no longer misses important business or family calls, worries about battery swapping, or pays for light and phone charging. She has also been able to increase the amount she puts into savings to 4000 shillings/week (about $1.50/week). Leading by example, Molly has become a strong champion for clean, renewable energy. Rather than just talk about the benefits of solar, which she does often, Molly need only flick a switch and people see for themselves. Molly is directly responsible for 17 individuals signing up for solar power loans through FINCA.  As a thank-you, FINCA recently provided Molly with a newer solar system model that includes 2 -lights and a flashlight; a prize that she proudly demonstrates for others.

 
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