LuxtrekS Model

 

Luxtreks starting approach was to treat the lighting systems as gifts to the community where they were installed. The condition was that all the persons in the community should receive a light and that they would be responsible for ensuring money was collected to replace batteries in due course and report to us of any problems that occurred. We hoped that the community would also undertake some action to recognize the gift and this might take the form of installing smokeless stoves (which helped to keep the lights clean), or to clean the garbage out of water course in the community. This did not work out as hoped.

 

Subsequently we tried to ensure that someone in the community or close to it could keep an eye on the lights and maintain them if required. This has only occurred in a minority of cases.

 

Our present model contains five components:-

 

1.    A group of potentially interested persons is trained to build and maintain lights with the understanding that they would use this to develop a business and sell lights to the community. They are provided with an initial 100 lantern kits to build and sell. They undertake to report to us about any problems encountered and how their business is progressing. They are required to sell at a fixed price and to honour a guarantee.

2.    The group is also given some basic business training so that they understand that they need to keep enough money to buy additional component kits to ensure that the business will continue to operate.

3.    The group is also given some training in microcredit principles. It is left to then to determine how this will work in their environment, what practices would be acceptable and how to ensure that loans are repaid. If they wish to start a microcredit program, which enables them to increase their market but also makes the lanterns accessible to the poorest people in the community, then they are given a further number of lantern kits to act as a seed for their microcredit program.

4.    We try to establish a supply chain for obtaining supplies of components without depending on Luxtreks. In effect this could be a separate business which could support a number of builders in a region. At present this still requires considerable hand holding.

5.    Luxtreks continues to improve the lantern design based on the experience obtained. We have managed to reduce the cost of components, improve the reliability, reduce the tool requirements and to improve the ease of assembly. Part of the focus is to make use where possible of locally available components. We will also address development requirements such as the inclusion of a cell phone charger into the lantern.

 

Nothing is final and we negotiate with groups and try to ensure that everything will work out for both the businesses and the users of the lighting systems. We adapt to meet the needs.

 

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Last updated September 13th 2010