Juhudi Labs Clean Energy Program featured in new publication

EuropeanDialogueCoverIn September 2014 Juhudi Kilimo was shortlisted for the 5th European Microfinance Award. The 10 semi-finalists have now been featured in the latest issue of a European Microfinance Platform publication, which is on the topic “Microfinance and the Environment”.

Our submission was about the Juhudi Labs Clean Energy Program, which uses microloans to increase the reach and uptake of environmentally friendly energy products, such as clean cookstoves, solar lamps and biogas digesters.

While Juhudi Kilimo’s core business is financing dairy cows, chickens, greenhouses, and other income-generating agricultural assets, we see loans for small and medium renewable energy assets as an additional means to alleviate the time and energy poverty that afflict most of our farmer clients.

Launched at the beginning of 2014, by March of the same year the Juhudi Labs Clean Energy Program had reached 425 rural households and had reduced their biomass consumption by at least 50%. Over the subsequent year, the Clean Energy Program went on to finance hundreds of renewable energy assets, bringing the total number of households reached so far to 2,300.

The Juhudi Labs Clean Energy Program is a joint effort between Juhudi Kilimo and Micro Energy Credits.

To read the full “Microfinance and the Envionment” report in Issue No. 7 of European Dialogue, click here.

Behavioural approaches to farmer learning

What do we need to take us from intention to action? We all have good intentions. We all want to exercise more or learn something new, for example, but when the moment to take action arrives, we often defer the decision. Rural farmers are no different; typically there is a gap between the farming knowledge they might gain from training and extension services, and what they put into practice on their farms.

Following an introduction to a team from the design lab ideas42, we became interested in how behavioural factors may influence the way farmers put learning into practice – the decisions they make, and the actions they take. After several conversations about Juhudi’s farmer training programs and the uptake of new concepts and practices by our farmers, ideas42 team members Dana Guichon and Matt Darling arrived in Kenya for a week-long learning visit with us.

Dana and Matt first spent some time learning about Juhudi’s operations and business at our Head Office in Nairobi. Then they set off, in the company of our intrepid Extension Officer Samwel Tobiko, to the Kericho area to spend three days attending our farmer training sessions and visiting a farmer group meeting. Dana and Matt asked millions of questions, both to Juhudi staff and to our farmers. They wanted to learn as much as they could about the social, behavioural, and psychological factors at play in a rural smallholder farmer’s daily decision-making process.

The information-gathering and learning visit was followed by a debrief with the Juhudi Labs team, back in Nairobi. We went through the observations they made during the field visit and identified three potential areas for further investigation, all related to how farmers access, absorb, put into practice, and share the farming and business-related information Juhudi makes available to them.

Under the Juhudi Labs Field Research Program, we will now work with the ideas42 team to narrow our scope of investigation, looking more closely at a particular learning challenge that farmers face and applying approaches from behavioural science to better understand and solve it. Here we go, from intention to action!

The ideas42 and Juhudi teams with a farmer group in Brooke, near Kericho

The ideas42 and Juhudi teams with a farmer group in Brooke, near Kericho

About ideas42

ideas42 is a non-profit design lab and consulting firm that uses insights from behavioural science to create innovative solutions to complex social problems. We aim to achieve impact at scale by applying the latest research on human behaviour to policy, program and product design. Our work involves educating decision makers and leaders about the power of behavioural science and how to apply it; improving existing products, policies, and programs; and inventing new products that draw on behavioural insights. We apply our expertise to a range of domains including consumer finance, education, economic opportunity, energy consumption and environmental conservation, healthcare, criminal justice, and agriculture.