The MIT Enterprise Forum – Pan-Arab Region- has selected Pawame as a semi-finalist for the Innovate for Refugees Competition. Pawame’s work in generating energy to residents of Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya has been widely lauded. The company is seeking to raise $250,000, create 50 jobs and better over 5000 lives by the end of 2018.
The MIT-sponsored competition is an initiative that attracts the best tech-driven solutions addressing the refugee crisis; and rewards innovative concepts from across the globe that alleviate life-threatening challenges faced by displaced millions.
The company is working in partnership with REFUNITE, a global non-profit organisation that focuses on reuniting family members. Pawame and REFUNITE are working together to enable a Bluetooth enabled mesh communication network; which allows free of charge, offline communication and distribution of information throughout the refugee camp.
“We are proud to be leading this effort in Kenya,” said Pawame CEO, Maurice Parets; adding that this model of decentralized energy and communication can be easily replicated in refugee camps the world over.
Pawame will drive electrification and connectivity in Kakuma through the distribution of its solar home system. The solar home system will work on an 18 month rent-to-own model with affordable daily payments of $0.50 (Ksh 5.12).
In addition to being a charging solution that supports the use of smartphones, the solar home systems will also provide the conventional benefits of nighttime lighting (up to four lights), as well as appliances such as radio and TV.
Majd Chaaya, Pawame’s Chief Technology Officer will highlight these benefits when he travels to Amman at the end of January for the next round of competition.
Originally Lebanese, born in the UAE and raised in Saudi Arabia, his regional and technical knowledge and global experience should reflect well on Pawame, according to Parets.
“The plight of refugees is one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian challenges, particularly in Africa,” he said. “At Pawame we have assembled a strong team of skilled and knowledgeable innovators who are deploying technology that meaningfully improves and even transforms life for refugees in Kakuma.”
Pawame has also been invited to participate at next month’s GSMA Mobile World Congress. Here the company will showcase innovation across business models for connecting refugees, humanitarian cash transfers and the potential for mobile-enabled utility solutions to expand into disaster-affected areas.