Environmental Protection

Venture to Support Solar and Wind Power in Nairobi

Jamii Bora Trust in Kenya and GreenMicrofinance™ Philadelphia recently unveiled a commercial microfinance venture at Morgan Stanley focusing on an environmental investment project that could become a model.

GreenMicrofinance has established "Jamii Bora GreenMicrofinance Ltd." The Pennsylvania-based company will channel investment money into the microfinance organization, Jamii Bora in Kenya. It will provide environmental expertise and source funds to build sustainable infrastructure, such as solar and wind power, wetlands development, rain water harvesting and support for the growth of "green" microbusinesses, such as biowaste plants, agricultural initiatives, and clean water and sanitation projects.

"Separately addressing the economic and environmental effects of poverty does not work," said Elizabeth Israel, GreenMicrofinance founder and chief executive officer. "Most don't deliver an integrated approach. Jamii Bora GreenMicrofinance will focus on bringing a revolutionary new business model for sustainable development to the world."

Jamii Bora works in all the major slums such as Kibera and Mathare Valley, the most overcrowded and polluted slums in Nairobi, Kenya. This area, the size of only 4 square kilometers, is home to 2.2 million people who have no access to electricity or clean water. Its members are among the very poor, but some are buying new homes in Jamii Bora's ECO-Town Kaputiei, the future home for 10,000 people which will create jobs for over 12,000 when completed.

The first project to be funded is a solar and wind project that will bring power to the town. Kenya is experiencing extreme drought that has led to power outages because the country is dependent upon hydropower. Residents of Kaputiei are not suffering from a lack of water because the town sits on top of one of the nation's biggest aquifers, but they do need power.

"Our members need more power for their businesses," said Ingrid Munro, Jamii Bora founder. "We're building an industrial park for microbusiness and small businesses. We're excited about this new partnership with GreenMicrofinance because we need more power to meet our needs and we'll sell the excess back to the national power grid for profit."

Jamii Bora GreenMicrofinance will work to source financing for Jamii Bora ECO-Town replications and engage experts and investors to expand other green projects.

"We're coming together, two organizations that have been working toward the same goals, Jamii Bora and GreenMicrofinance," said Munro. "Two visions, one that is creating this town that is now beginning to seek finance to scale up and another that is seeking finance to meet that need. It is a common vision."

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