Mobility for Africa, a new social enterprise, wants to bring the electric vehicle revolution to rural women in Africa. While we appreciate it may be a while before we can all afford a Tesla, new renewable energy, along with advances in battery technology, mean that with the right investments in low cost electric tricycles, microfinance, and off grid charging, we have the potential to change the lives of millions of rural women.
We are at a critical juncture. Without seed funding, we are finding it difficult to leverage larger grants and investment to get the pilot project moving. Hence, we would like to invite you to be part of this exciting enterprise. We have set up a crowdsourcing page that supports social causes. Besides the transaction fees, it means they do not take a cut of any investment. We need your help to raise $50,000 to invest in our first container of tricycle parts that will all be assembled locally.
If you are able and willing to join us on this journey with a financial contribution (no matter the size), we would be very grateful. We also welcome any support to share and pass on the page to friends and individuals who are interested. Please click on this link to go to the crowdsourcing page. And we promise to keep you posted as we seek to bring an electric mobility revolution to rural women in Africa.
After more than two decades working in international development, I am eager to use my experience and energy to make a practical, tangiible and concrete contribution. Working in collaboration with businesswoman, Felicity Tawengwa, we have set up a company called Locomotion Africa, which is trading as Mobility for Africa in Zimbabwe, and also registered in Australia. The aim is to leverage technological know-how and manufacturing skills from China, to produce low-cost quality renewable electric tricycles, and small scale vehicles that are built for a rural environment. Branded under “Mobility for Africa”, the transport will be designed to cater to the user’s need for local mobility, provide long term and low interest financing to make them affordable and ialso nvest in the longer term off grid community based renewable power solutions. The sanlanche, the Chinese tricycle, once fuel driven yet now electric, has been critical in the lives of small scale farmers in China and we believe can address some of the enormous mobility challenges in Africa.
The plan is to work with social impact investors to test a model that is sustainable - both environmentally and financially for rural women. We realize the tricycles alone will not bring transformation and we will also need to develp an innovative model to reach rural communities, especially women. We believe if we can create a distribution model that works, the benefits will lead to many positive outcomes.
We are working with Chinese colleagues to identify a strategic partner, and identify philanthropy investors to pilot the project in Zimbabwe in January 2019. We already have a commitment from China's Tsinghua University to bring some students to collaborate with students from Midland State University's Innovation Hub to identify technical, social and financial solutions for the field testing. Ultimately, we would like to prove the model and then seek to build a market, and invest in local manufacturing and expand distribution to other countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.
While we would aim to sell commercially, we ideally would seek to redeploy investments to target rural poorer communities, using a social enterprise model that provides a package of services from skills to low income financing.
Feel free to get in touch to learn more about our plans or ask us questions. We really appreciate your faith and support in translating this idea into a reality. Thanks again and we look forward to staying in touch.