Bringing solar energy to rural Rwanda with a smile
She stands five feet tall and has a smile that can floor a giant. Rosalie from Bugesare in Rwanda's Eastern Province always wanted to work in the field of electronics, so when she saw an advertisement asking youth to apply to join the Mobisol Akademy in 2015, she sent her application.
“I love technology,” said Rosalie “OYE has taught me that when you love something, you excel in it. Nothing is impossible once you put your mind to it, practise and get better.”
After an entry interview, she joined a group of other young people who would learn to install home solar systems. The group received basic life skills training from the Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) project trainers while they were engaged in theoretical training at the Mobisol Akademy.
“I learned how to do installations, provide customer care, educate my customers on using the solar systems, and how to conduct after-sales follow-up,” she recalled. After the theoretical training, Rosalie got an internship where she excelled by performing the highest number of installations. As a result, Rosalie was offered a position at Mobisol and began her work as a technician in charge of the Southern Province. She has since expanded into two additional districts in the Western Province and now serves clients in the Muhanga, Nyamagabe, Ruhango, Rusizi, Nyanza, Nyaruguru, Karongi and Gisagara districts.
Rosalie has installed over 250 systems since she became a technician in May 2015. “I am able to install up to five systems a day,” she said with a proud smile, adding that once a customer has committed to buy a system must contact them within two days. Depending on the size of the system, she earns a commission of between 10,000 (EUR 11) and 22,250 Rwf (EUR 25) per system.
The business and basic life skills training that she received from OYE have instilled in her a discipline to save up her income and invest it in profitable ventures. She has saved over 700,000 Rwf (almost 1,000 USD) in a bank account and purchased a plot of land for 300,000 Rwf (USD 400). She also bought some goats in her home district of Ruhango and is using part of her income to send her younger siblings to school.
She aspires to open an electronics shop in her home district when she stops installing solar systems. She also plans to acquire more land to invest. Once her siblings finish school, she hopes to build a house on one of her pieces of land. Until then, she can be found on a rooftop installing a solar panel.
For more information about the OYE project, please contact Elvine Binamungu, OYE Communication Coordinator or OYE Project Manager, Roy van der Drift.