Sustainable Electricity for Mbissa

What could you do with electricity?

Only one dollar a day for 20 days can give a family electricity for 4 years. 100% of the donations raised through this campaign subsidize electrical installations for the poor in rural Cameroon, Africa.

Please note that each reward tier includes personal communication with the donor, including (depending on the donation tier): a photo of the installation and the homes and people affected; a personalized video of the surroundings and the families giving their greetings; a letter from the communities affected; personalized updates from the communities given electricity.

For Ezekiel, a young father from the island community of Mbissa, the answer is easy. With light indoors, his family can be together at night without needing to buy expensive kerosene lamps; his outdoor light brightens the evenings and early mornings so that people can come and go safely - especially without needing to worry about poisonous snakes. He can freely charge his phone without leaving his home. The best part is that the cost of charging his home's battery is the same as his previous cell phone charging fees.

Electricity is also transforming Ezekiel's community. His brother hopes to open the first electrical barber's shop on Mbissa. Nearby children now are able to study at night after spending most of the day between school and their farms. The local health clinic can offer full 24 hour service under bright lights, such as helping women deliver their babies in the wee hours of the morning. Local community centres such as bars, churches, mosques, and meeting homes can effectively serve a large number of people at any time of day.

Who We Are

Welcome to Mbissa, an island village of about 3000 people on lake Bamendjing in Cameroon, West Africa! Most of the people of Mbissa live through subsistence farming and fishing, barely pulling enough from the lake and land to get by. I'd like to tell you about how together we can make a difference in Mbissa, Cameroon, and beyond.

We are Mbissa Energy Systems, a New Brunswick-based (Canada) organization that is fighting poverty in rural Africa through sustainable electricity. We empower local people with the tools and training needed to create electrical systems that are:
    - Affordable : Our products are designed to be owned by those living in extreme poverty (defined by the World Bank of a per-person income of less than $1.90 a day).
    - Appropriate : The electrical systems are made by integrating sophisticated Western technology - renewable energy focused primarily on solar electricity - with local culture and ideas. The result is a cutting-edge solution that fits into rural African communities.
    - Sustainable : Most importantly, the electrical systems must be designed, built, maintained, and expanded without constant intervention from Mbissa Energy. This has led to the creation of an efficient and effective micro-grid design that is manufactured in rural centres from locally available parts by grassroots technicians.

Through Mbissa Energy Systems your support can provide electricity for the people of Mbissa and Bambalang, the larger people group in which Mbissa is included. Please feel free to leave a comment below, read on for more information about our solution, or reach out to us on one of our social media pages.

Our Solution

The most basic system that we create is run off of a single, small 12-volt battery. This battery costs around $20 and can support a USB cell phone charger and up to three LED lights in a client’s home for nearly seven days.

Once a homeowner's battery charge has dropped to a certain point, they carry it with them the next day to a nearby community hub - such as the island's east-most general store or the Mbissa health clinic - on the way to their farm. These hubs are equipped with a charging station that will refill the homeowner's battery so that they can pick it up on their way home and have electricity for another week.

At $30 per system, the house-based installations are affordable for most. Furthermore, a lease model ensures that every homeowner can pay for their own system at a rate that fits within their means. 

While our clients own the storage and usage devices, Mbissa Energy retains the charging and distribution technology. This means that the complexity of renewable energy has been placed into Mbissa Energy's charging stations, allowing wealthier community centres to shoulder the financial burden.

All of the materials are available within a couple hours' drive from the rural communities and the components are assembled and installed by local technicians. This community-centred, micro-grid driven model allows us to easily work in remote, poor locations. It’s simple, affordable, and life-changing!

Where We Are Now

Our portfolio consists of the installations performed as Mbissa Energy's proof of concept work from between early 2015 and late 2016. Our technicians have installed over 40 systems of various sizes; over half of these were done by local Cameroonian technicians without external intervention. We are looking to scale quickly, providing electricity for many within Mbissa, Bambalang and beyond. To do so, we need help shouldering the initial burden of the costs of materials.

It is important to note that Mbissa Energy sells its systems in rural Africa. That being said, the money raised through sales of services remains within African communities. The goal of this is twofold:
    - a handout is not owned in the same way as if one had bought it, even for a low price. Similarly, our systems become a product of Mbissa when they are created and bought by the people of Mbissa.
    - the money raised through sales is used to operate sustainably. It is reinvested into the communities that we serve by hiring local talent and by purchasing more system materials for a larger region.

How You Can Help

If we could raise $15 000, we would be able to provide three families with electricity each working day of 2018. That corresponds to 750 families reached over the year - or, on average, 6000 people (which would include installations on the mainland as well as Mbissa).

For many families on Mbissa, $30 is very difficult to come up with. Money that is donated will be used to subsidize the cost for each system that is purchased for a home to make them more affordable and available to our poorest clients. Even a small contribution can make a world of difference!

Please consider helping us out by donating to our organization, following the story on social media, or by sharing our campaign. For $1 every day for 20 days, a family on Mbissa or mainland Bambalang can have reliable lights in their home for at least 4 years. That’s less than it costs to have a cup of coffee each morning and it will transform the lives of many!

A Bright Future

With your help, we can work alongside the people of Mbissa for a brighter future. We look forward to keeping you up to date on how your donation will have an impact in 2018.

As we said before, welcome to Mbissa! We’re happy that you’re here, and we hope that you enjoy your visit.

Pia po ka’a. We are together.”
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