By: Yusuf M Hasan
ERIGAVO (Somalilandsun) – A solar powered Small market Enterprise-SME couple with the massive profusion of mobile phones is helping to feed a family of five in a remote village in Sanaag Region.
Surrounded by several mobile phone charges in Waridaad village in Sanaag region is a 27 years old father of three Madar Ahmed Artan whose sole source of income is charging mobile phone batteries for residents of this village and outlaying residents where electricity is unheard of.
” Then only time that feeding my family becomes problematic is during the rainy season ” Madar told Somalilandsun during an interview in his village in which he also informed that currently every homestead is endowed with at least one cell phone thus a booming business.
According to Madar who charges 1500 Somaliland shillings for every battery charge an average day sees him earn between $8-$10 due to the increase in the number of rural and nomadic people who own mobile phones.
He also explains that a good source of income is when he gets to charge batteries for passengers passing through Waridaad either to Erigavo from Burao or vice versa, “Since they are in a hurry I normally charge half a dollar thus make a tiny sum if a number of passengers happen to my customers on a given day.
To service his business Madar bought a single solar panel that is placed outside his aunt’s shop, six chargers of diverse models, a solar battery and power extensions which is the only item of his working tools that requires constant refurbishment.
Say he, “For two years now I have used the same solar panel and battery on a daily basis without any problems” boasting that he chose the best of the materials.
Asked on the top cell-phone providing company for his clients Madar retorted that he is not a telephone operator but a battery charger and thus cannot answer the question truthfully.
“Then which is the top model of phones in your area? Asked Somalilandsun
“of course it is Nokia both original and Chinese followed by Samsung and GTI” said Madar who informed that long lasting cell-phone batteries to his experience are from the original phones which he was quick to confess is bad for his business because they also keep power longer.
Said he, “I liked the customers with Chinese cell phones because they charge their batteries almost on a daily basis” said Madar who informed his next business move is to initially stock cell phone batteries for sale as a prelude to mobile phones themselves.
In Somaliland where electricity which is generator availed only major towns and said to be the most expensive in the world at $ per kilowatt, Solar power is gaining a prominence in the rural areas where several villages not only in Sanaag region but the entire countryside are utilizing it to charge their mobile phones as well as light their homes.