Mpingo Farm Stay gets Serious with Solar

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Carla Acosta, an intern from York University in Canada, stands besides a Mpingo tree.

Mpingo Farm Stay is an exclusive nature farm that provides lovers a place to seek harmony, tranquility and solitude. On May 23rd 2011, team members from ARTI-TZ visited the Mpingo Farm Stay which is located 38 km from Dar es Salaam in Bagamoyo District. The purpose of this visit was to complete the installation of Barefoot Power solar kits in the guest lodges, kitchen, patio and workers quarters.

Kenned Mremi, from ARTI-TZ, installs the 5W solar panel on the thatched roof of the patio

The installation was conducted by Abdalla Seushi, Kennedy Mremi and James Mariwa from ARTI-TZ.  Carla Acosta, an intern from Canada, and  Jacqueline Michael, also from ARTI-TZ,  accompanied to assist in the installation and see the wonderful efforts to conserve the natural environment.  Staff members from Mpingo Farm Stay gave a tour to the ARTI-TZ team and helped with hanging the lights in the banda’s.

One of the many LED lights installed at Mpingo Farm Stay

The Barefoot Power lights have helped a great deal at the Farm as electricity is scarce and most people rely on kerosene and candles as the main source of lighting.  According to one of the Mpingo Farm Stay staff the solar power has been the most efficient and economical form of power  and allows them to remain within their mandate to be environmentally friendly.

The Mpingo Farm Stay story demonstrates how people living and do business in areas without power can adopt solar energy  and avoid undergoing the costly process of installing grid electricity or using generators.   Lodges, campsites and other institutions, such as schools, can use the example of the Mpingo farm to see the opportunity to reap the benefits of solar.

For more information about Mpingo Farm Stay please email: or call +255 752 383 138 or +255 659 383 138.

For more information about Barefoot Solar, please visit our products page and click on solar.

Waste to Wealth Project Launched in Bagamoyo

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Participants of Kiromo Village hold their certificates after completing the training

ARTI-Tanzania has officially begun the Waste to Wealth Project with the first trainings starting in Bagamoyo.  The project to “promote charcoal briquettes in Tanzania” is being carried out with support from the World Bank’s Biomass Energy Initiative for Africa (BEIA).

Lead Trainer, Kennedy Mremi, instructs a participant in cutting a drum safely

Three trainings have been completed to date in Dunda, Magomeni and Kiromo villages in Bagamoyo District.  The selection of participants for the training was also done carefully to ensure at least one male and one female from each hamlet of the Ward was selected.  This was initiated by the village councils who want to ensure the training reaches to as many corners of their Ward as possible.

Participants plan the welding of the kilns outer ring

Following each training the participants have worked to form charcoal briquetting groups with an idea to collectively produce, promote and sell briquettes.  The groups elected leaders to organize activities and are in the process of writing bankable business plans to move their fledging enterprises forward, which will help create “green jobs” while protecting the environment.

Participants in Dunda Village admiring their kiln

About the Waste to Wealth Project

The goal of the project is to target existing charcoal producers and facilitate their transition from cutting trees to using dry biomass to produce charcoal sustainably.

Kennedy Mremi, Lead Trainer, loading the truck for the very first training

The training has focused on fabrication of charcoal kilns, pyrolyzing of dry biomass for the production of char powder, charcoal briquetting using manual extruders and setting up rural briquetting enterprises. The project aims to train 1800 rural Tanzanians in 60 villages in 4 districts bordering Dar es Salaam…where most of the charcoal for the city is produced.

Loading the kiln with dry biomass in Magomeni Village

Trainings started in Bagamoyo in March 2011 and run for two weeks every month for a period of 6 months.  9 more villages will receive training in bagamoyo over the next three months before moving on Kibaha, Kisararwe and Mkuranga Districts in the 18 months completion of the trainings in Bagamoyo.

Opening the kiln to remove the char powder in Magomeni Village

So far the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) the Bagamoyo District council, District Forest Officers (DFO’s) and the Ward and Village Councils have been instrumental in ensuring successful trainings from the start of the project in Bagamoyo.

Preparing the char powder for briquetting

The ARTI-TZ team is overwhelmingly happy with the success in the first three trainings, especially how the groups have proven to be resourceful and creative with their new found opportunity.  We look forward seeing more of the same success.

Briquetting in Magomeni Village

Briquetting in Dunda Village

15 villages receive solar education

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Masai in Vigwaza Village learning about solar

The ARTI-Tanzania team started promoting solar lights throughout March and April in Bagamoyo District as part of the Lighting Rural Tanzania project.  Jacqueline Michael, Project Officer and Abdalla Seushi, Field Officer, joined up with staff from Magic LN Supplies and Abel shop, both agents partnering for the project.

The team visited 15 villages, which included Ubena, Mdaula, Vigwaza, Msoga, Mboga, Msata, Lugoba, Mandera, Ngelengele, Magindu, Gumba, Gwata, Kiwangwa, Makurunge and Fukayosi villages, of which they were able to visit 7 villages during market days, when there was a large turnout of people.  The goal of the promotions is to educate and create awareness about Barefoot Power solar products and to introduce the “Mauli Kauli” credit option for purchasing the solar lights.

Children from Ndelema Market testing the Fire Fly 12 Mobile

The promotion included product demonstration where Firefly 12 Mobile and 5w PowaPacks were put on display for people to see working. The team taught village households on how to connect the Firefly 12 Mobile and 5w PowaPack and also explained the advantages of the solar products over candles and other products that produce light using kerosene.

Jacqueline Michael, LRTC Project Officer, demonstrating the Firefly 12 Mobile to interested customers

One of the advantages explained is the reduced health risks from the smoke that is released by candles and kerosene which causes lung cancer and eye problems as well as reducing the risk of house fire accidents.

The creation of awareness also involved giving out flyers and putting up posters on walls of different shops in the villages the team visited.

Abdalla Seushi, LRTC Field Officer, putting up "USIKUBALI GIZA" posters in a village shop

The promotions were spiced up with music and dancing from the “Wayaudi” and “B-Town” Groups of entertainers which attracted most village households to get a close look what was happening during the promotion.  The team moved from one village to another using a truck which was decorated with posters and banners that contained information on the solar products. The truck had speakers and a microphone that the team used to speak to large groups of people spreading considerable awareness to a large number of households in the villages.

Performers from the Wayaudi group performing at the solar promotion in Lugoba Village

Those village households who bought the 5w PowaPack solar system were taught how to install the product in their houses and succeeded in doing so.  Some people requested the team to assist them to install the system in Ngelengele and Mandela villages which Abdalla Seushi and a technician from Magic LN Supplies were happy to do.  The installations was a nice experience to both the team and the customers in the village.

A shop owner in Ngelengele Village turning on his nealy installed 5w PowerPack

Overall, the trip was a great opportunity for the households visited to learn about the Barefoot Power solar products and their advantages over other inferior products for lighting.

LRTC partners start solar business

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Abdalla Seushi, LRTC Field Officer, demonstrates lights to dealers

On March 5th, 2011, ARTI- TZ conducted training for technicians selected by dealers who are participating in the “mauli kauli” program supported through  Lighting Rural Tanzania (LRTC). The program, which is also supported by the Rural Energy Agency (REA) has so far allowed ARTI-TZ to train seven technicians with three technicians coming from AOK Services and Magic LN Enterprises in Chalinze, two from Abel Shop in Bagamoyo and two from Mroso Shop in Mlandinzi. All the technicians  are working towards certification from ARTI TZ and upon completion of certification will be responsible for service and repairs and connecting solar systems in the houses of their customers.

Jacqueline Michael, LRTC Project Officer, signing the contract with Abel Shop under the "Mauli Kauli" Project

On March 15, 2011, two LRCT partner agents signed distribution contracts with Appropriate Rural Technology Institute Tanzania.  Abel shop and the Magic Ln Enterprises of Bagamoyo and Chalinze towns signed contracts and received the first delivery of Firefly 12 Mobile and 5W Power Packs. The selected dealers will be responsible with the distribution of solar lights to the retailers and the retailers to the final consumers on a credit basis.  Repayment of financing will be done through payments divided in four equal monthly installments. The contracts will last for 8 months before they are reevaluation for extension.

Article by: Jacqueline Michael, LRTC Project Officer

ARTI-TZ Hosts Barefoot Power Training for Tanzania

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ARTI-TZ is now a Barefoot Power certified service centre with four certified service technicians equipped to service all Barefoot products in house.

ARTI-TZ Technicians, Kennedy Mremi and Godson Mghamba, repair receiving Barefoot technical certification

Barefoot Power conducted a three day intensive importer and technician certification training at the from February 28th to March 3rd.

Eliza Hogan, Barefoot Power East and South Africa, opens the training with Jacqueline Micheal, ARTI-TZ Project Officer for Lighting Rural Tanzania

ARTI-TZ hosted the training and helped with planning and facilitation.  The training brought importers of Barefoot products together to coordinate activities within Tanzania.  representatives from ARTI-TZ, Solar Aid, Umeme Jua, Watu na Nuru, Kiwia & Laustsen, L’s Solutions and SEECO/TaTEDO.

The training focused on three primary capacities: product familiarization, technician & service centre certification and marketing strategies.

Sakwa Richard, from Barefoot Power Uganda, demonstrates the 15W home lighting system

Product familiarization was completed on Day 1.  All the participants were introduced to the technologies, explained the functionality and capacity of the systems and encouraged to set up the systems in order to understand the systems.  Emphasis was put on what the system could do and what the system could not do as well as the importance of informing customers on how to properly use the system and maintain the warranty agreement.

Barefoot Power trainers, Sakwa Richard (Uganda) and Paul Maina (Kenya) training Tanzanian technicians

The second day of the training was divided into two core components.  The first being intensive technical training on all barefoot products.  Each organization had technicians trained on trouble shooting, identification of technical faults, repairs and service centre management.

Organization heads discussed marketing strategies and core competencies required to ensure maximum customer service throughout the country.

Guest speakers from the micro-finance and trade finance community spoke during the three day meeting as well.

Hugh Whalen, CEO and Co-founder of Energy in Common (, spoke on micro-finance loans via internet where profiles of loan seekers requesting loans ranging from 1$ to 1500$ are posted on the Energy in Common website.  Investors from around the world can then view these profiles and decide to invest either fully or partially. When 100% of the investment is raised the loan is granted.

Felista Coutinho of Tujijenge Tanzania speaking on Microfinance

Felistas Coutinho from Tujijenge Tanzania ( also spoke on micro finance opportunities in Tanzania.  Emphasis was put on properly supporting the MFI process through product availability and strong after sales service.

The final day of training allowed importers to discuss areas of collaboration to ensure Barefoot products are available and serviced throughout Tanzania.  Currently service centres are expected to be opened in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Singida and Dodoma.

For more information on Barefoot products, visit our “Products” page.

Women’s Charcoal Group Wins ILO Grant

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Rufiji Camfed Cama completing their first kiln in 2009

The International Labour Organization has recognized ARTI charcoal briquetting as a viable income generating activity after awarding the top award for the the Youth to Youth Fund to a Rufiji Women’s group (or “CAMFED CAMA” as they like to refer to themselves) which is sponsored by Campaign for Womens Education (CAMFED)   The group will receive a grand of $ 10,000 USD to implement their business plan.

The journey first began when the Rufiji group received training from ARTI-TZ in 2009, which enabled them to build charcoal kilns, pyrolyze dry biomass into char powder, produce charcoal briquettes and informed them of the marketing and business techniques necessary to start a small charcoal briquettes business.  CAMFED sponsored the initial training and the Rufiji group managed the rest.

Based on their experience the Rufiji group developed a business plan and entered it into the Youth to Youth Competition.  After qualifying for the final round of selection, Nachiket W. Potnis, ARTI-TZ Executive Director, reunited with the group a year later to meet the ILO representatives.

A few weeks later we were informed by “Chiku”, the groups inspirational leader that they had beat out 240 other proposals and won first place in the competition.  Mr. Potnis responded to the phone call with such joy saying, “I feel like it was one of my daughters who has just graduated university…the immense feeling of pride for these young women is overwhelming.”

ARTI-TZ will continue to support the Rufiji group as well as other CAMFED “CAMA’s” to further promote sustainable charcoal briquettes in Tanzania.  ARTI-TZ will also work with the ILO to ensure the business model gets all the support it needs to be a success.

About the Youth to Youth Fund

The Youth Entrepreneurship Facility (YEF) is an initiative to “unleash African entrepreneurship”. It is a collaboration between the Africa Commission, the Youth Employment Network (YEN), and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Facility aims at creating additional jobs in East Africa through youth entrepreneurship development. Its main components are promotion of enterprise culture, entrepreneurship education and training, access to business development and affordable financial services, a youth-to-youth fund, and evidence based advocacy through rigorous impact evaluations.

The Youth-to-Youth fund is a competitive grant and capacity building scheme for young people to propose innovative project ideas on how to promote and develop entrepreneurship amongst their peers. The scheme is implemented simultaneously in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.