In order to address the issue of shack fires, mostly caused by burning candles or faulty electrical connections, a young Namibian entrepreneur established Mushi BioPower Solar Namibia, a company that offers solar-powered electrical equipment.
The company’s founder and CEO Pontianus Mukishi (35) told Youth Corner he brought the services and products closer to informal settlements and rural communities who need it most.
“I am passionate about helping Namibians and enabling them to get access to clean light – and that is the way to go right now. Every person should have access to clean light and we should do away with burning houses. What’s even better is there is minimal spending if they buy the available products; they get to save money for a long time,” highlighted Mukishi.
The shop, which was launched on Saturday, is situated in the heart of the Goreangab residential area in the Samora Machel constituency.
Products include solar panels, lamps, batteries, cables, connectors, streetlights, and systems that can operate fridges, radios televisions and fans.
The shop comes at an opportune time when Namibia aims to produce 70% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2030.
With an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day, Namibia is one of the world’s sunniest countries that have enormous potential for solar energy, yet 60% of the country’s energy is imported from neighbouring countries – and 40% of its population is disconnected from the grid.
Before roping in other youths, Mushi did pilots of the project in Katima Mulilo, Rundu, Ondangwa and Omuthiya.
“We understood what the people needed; that’s how we decided to also come to the city, where we established an office in Goreangab,” he explained.
Other youthful members of the team are Agnes Erasmus, Martha Fernandes and head of operations Kristian Nantinda.
“The education campaign is important; you need to know how to manoeuvre and it’s only this year we decided to fully introduce the product to the potential consumers. It’s a new product,” added Nantinda.
In a speech read on his behalf, councillor of Samora Machel Nestor Kalola said the project came at the right time, encouraging the use of solar products to minimise damages caused by fire.
Kalola could not attend the launch because he had to inspect a burning shack in the Havana informal settlement.
Shack fires have been making headlines in the past years, with causes being mainly attributed to the use of candles and other unsafe lighting systems in the informal settlements.
“Our office always receives calls and messages of burning shacks in the area. Opening this establishment and offering such products comes at the right time, as it is a way of contributing to the development of the community and it addresses something that hugely affects the youth – unemployment. So, I am happy that this is happening, expressed Kalola.