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By: Arthur Nguyen dao

Usually, when you support a fundraising campaign you get a gift according to your level of support. At Phare, we like to do things differently. So if you check our fundraising web page, you will see that there are actually few gifts to get if you donate. Instead of giving our donors a gift, we chose to make a further gift to Cambodian people. Basically, it is as if you made a double-donation!

For one of those gifts, Phare built a partnership with Kamworks and offers a MoonLight solar lamp to the family of one of our students for a 150$ donation.

kamworks1Click on the picture

Do you know Kamworks? It is a Cambodian social business specialized in solar energy. They develop quality solar products in order to expand the access to electricity in rural Cambodia. All the products are designed and produced in the factory they built in the rural surroundings of Phnom Penh. They also share their high-end expertise on sustainable solar energy throughout Cambodia.

In a nutshell, Kamworks seeks to create a sustainable solar market giving green light to rural households and creating local employment.kamworks2

In Cambodia, the situation is so bad that 70% of the population does not have access to electricity from the public grid. Typically, people use car batteries, candles and kerosene lamps, and in the long run, these products are not only expensive, but also inefficient, dangerous, unhealthy, and polluting. Many families of the artists we support are in this situation. A partnership with Kamworks is for us a way to extend our help to those families thanks to the support of donors.

As Cambodia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, Kamworks seeks to bring to the rural people a sustainable and reliable alternative using solar technology.

kamworks3This, is the MoonLight.

Phare chose this particular item for the partnership with Kamworks because we like the story of its creation and we think it is a great object.

So, here is more about the MoonLight.

To be sure that their new product would perfectly fit the needs of people in rural areas, Kamworks conducted a field research involving local villagers. As a result, the MoonLight is portable because most households can afford only one lamp but have to bring light to different rooms. The light has two different levels of intensity to match the different uses: reading, cooking, orientation and security etc. The MoonLight is also shock, water and dirt resistant to survive floods, storms, dry season and the difficult Cambodian countryside life.

© Mathieu Young

© Mathieu Young

When you think about it, what do you need light for?

To this question, Cambodians answered that outdoors, they needed light to visit friends, go fishing, watch their animals, shop, eat, take a shower, wash the dishes and go to the toilets. As to the indoor use, they watch TV, eat, read, study, have a kitchen and need to arrange their bedroom and mosquito nets.

© Mathieu Young

© Mathieu Young

But the cooperation with local villagers did not stop at the stage of conception. They were also involved in the design of the lamp, testing different prototypes and bringing suggestions to improve the lamp.kamworks6

Only one problem remained: it did not matter how willing to buy the MoonLight villagers were, most of them could not afford the initial cost anyway.
Kamworks also found the solution for this issue.
School awareness campaigns were conducted to educate children about climate change and energy concerns. Then, a partnership with a micro finance institute that gives solar loans to purchase MoonLights was established.
It even goes beyond the simple idea of selling with the MoonLight Rental Scheme. The idea is that a village entrepreneur rents a business-in-a-box starter kit and rents 30 MoonLights to villagers at the same price as their daily average kerosene expenditure. Villagers do not take any financial risks while getting a brighter, safer and cleaner source of light. The entrepreneur takes a solar loan from the micro finance institute and pays it with his revenue from the MoonLights rental.

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© Mathieu Young

kamworks8

© Mathieu Young

So now you see why Phare wanted to partner with Kamworks. The philosophy of their product, produce locally to help local communities, is perfectly in line with what Phare is doing.

Like us you think that the MoonLight is a great product that should be used widely in Cambodia but you also think it is important to help young Cambodian artists get sustainable jobs?

We created the double-donation for you: you donate to the circus, we give Cambodian rural families solar lamps. It is as simple as clicking on the picture below:

livepainting6