Zonful Energy founder and chief executive William Ponela, one of Zimbabwe’s most innovative and enterprising businessmen, is set for a continental award after being nominated for the prestigious Energy and Environment Partnership Africa Project of the Year award.
Ponela was recently shortlisted as one of five individuals that get a chance to present their achievements at the EEP Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) set for December 4 in Arusha, Tanzania.
According to correspondence from the EEP’s head of portfolio and finance Lauri Tuomaala, Ponela is expected to travel to Tanzania to showcase his story and company to the audience and a prestige jury that will select the winner of award by the end of the day.
“All shortlisted finalists will be featured prominently in communications materials circulated to a wide audience. The winner will get a chance to present their work at the African Utility week in May 2020…”
The EEP Africa focuses on supporting gender equality and opportunities for women in all areas of our work.
Ponela welcomed the EEP nomination saying it was in recognition of Zonful Energy’s endevours to ensure growth in rural and underprivileged communities.
“I feel honoured to be shortlisted for this prestigious and continental award which recognises our efforts as Zonful Energy in trying to improve the quality of life for citizens in rural communities and low-income earners in Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said it was incumbent to note that EEP’s focus on supporting gender equality and opportunities for women dovetails with Zonful Energy’s vision and objectives.
“We have been at the forefront in the fight against environment degradation and deforestation by supporting the use of renewable energy sources in rural communities hence our push in the provision of solar products in these communities,” Ponela said.
Zonful Energy is a for-profit social enterprises operating in Zimbabwe since March, 2013.
It distributes high quality PV solar modular products to off-grid rural and peri-urban households on a Pay-As-You-Go business model.
This is done through a network of women agents strategically positioned in various rural district.
The company targets low-income households, a majority of which live on less than US$3 per day with 80 percent of the households being women-headed and first-time solar home system users.
The target market is also dependent on fossil fuel such as kerosene.
Zonful Energy makes sure that beneficiaries benefit from its synergies through both fair pricing and acceptable service turnaround times.
It also provides service to more than 20 000 off-grid rural households.
Its systems consist of solar panels batteries and a broad range of appliances including lights, mobile phone charger, a radio and television.
Seventy percent of Zimbabwe’s population live in the rural areas while 80 percent are without electricity and relying on fossil fuels.
The beneficiaries include rural off-grid households, peri-urban households and small-scale farmers who are into irrigation farming.
Zonful Energy projects has benefitted more than 20 000 households in rural districts of Chegutu, Zvishavane, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Bikita, Sanyati, Gokwe North, Masvingo, Gutu and Mudzi.