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[Interview] Palmis Enèji: For clean and accessible energy in Haiti

Interview with Jean-Farreau Guerrier, Coordinator of Entrepreneurs du Monde, Haiti

Access to clean energy is essential to meeting the needs of populations, particularly in rural or landlocked areas. In Haiti, the social enterprise Palmis Enèji, in which the Foundation is a shareholder, provides a solution with ecological and economical cooking and lighting equipment. Coordinated by the NGO Entrepreneurs du Monde, the project continues to grow. It has benefited in particular from a Solidarity Banker assignment through the Foundation for a fundraising drive in the near future.

– Tell us about Palmis Enèji. How is this social enterprise adapted in Haiti?

Jean-Farreau Guerrier, coordinator: Palmis Enèji is a Haitian social enterprise that specializes in the distribution and maintenance of clean cooking and lighting equipment for the most disadvantaged households in Haiti. The situation is critical in our country, so action is needed. Already one of the poorest countries on the planet, Haiti is going through a crisis that is severely affecting its population. Street demonstrations are frequent, the security situation is deteriorating, and some areas are completely inaccessible. Hit by an inflation rate of nearly 20%, households are losing purchasing power, 62% of them remain without access to electricity and up to 85% are in rural areas. As a result, families use candles or kerosene for lighting and charcoal for cooking. With its stoves and solar lamps, Palmis Enèji offers solutions to replace these rudimentary methods.

–What are the socio-economic impacts of your actions?

Thanks to partnerships with microfinance institutions, Palmis Enèji provides financing solutions that facilitate the acquisition of equipment. Many households and professionals are thus switching to cooking using LPG, which is far less harmful than charcoal cooking. The poorest families in rural areas have practically no access to LPG, so they use our improved charcoal stoves, which consume 20% to 30% less than traditional stoves. Our solar lamps also provide them with lighting, which is healthier and more comfortable than candles. These solutions enable the poorest families to save money while reducing their ecological footprint: we estimate that we have helped save over 153,000 tonnes of forest timber and reduced harmful CO2 emissions by more than 203,000 tonnes. Finally, Palmis Enèji supports economic activity with a network of franchised micro-businesses. As one of our resellers aptly summarized the social utility: “I am proud to see light shining in our families.”

– What upcoming developments do you foresee?

We are pursuing the strong objective of making devices, which are beneficial to health and to the environment, accessible to everyone in every village. To that end, we are prioritizing three projects:  access to LPG through distribution centres in the centre of the country and in the Grande-Anse department; the development of the after-sales service and diversification of our product range; and the expansion of our partner network.

Source: Integrated Report 2019, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Dowload it here