With solar energy, Wayúu community inaugurates its first store

Due to  to energy from solar panels, more than forty families will begin to enjoy refrigerated products such as cold meats, beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables.

In the Kayetamana indigenous community located in the municipality of Riohacha, department of La Guajira. In June, the inhabitants of the area dressed up to celebrate the inauguration of their first community store, which also runs on solar energy and is equipped with a freezer. The launch of the store seeks to generate inclusive rural economic development for a community struggling to improve their quality of life and responds to one of the results of the joint work between Tierra Grata and  the Allianz Foundation.

The Wayúu community, which includes 48 families, paid for part of the system and is in charge of project implementation with the support of our organization. Despite having little experience in resource management, the members of Kayetamana put all their efforts into the project, which they hope will boost the economy and generate local employment. The shopkeeper, for example, was chosen by the community and will receive a monthly salary for his work.

Prior to the opening of the store, the community did not have easy access to basic family foodstuffs and other household items. To purchase them, they had to travel to the urban center of Riohacha every week and spend between 8 and 15 dollars on transportation, which is the equivalent of one day of work.  By having a store within their territory and avoiding trips to urban centers, families will be able to save up to 30% on the cost of basic food.

It is no longer necessary to travel often to Riohacha to buy food. Now we delegate a person to buy the necessary products to sell in the store. Now I can say that I am a user of Energía Grata, and I thank you because I was able to access this service and become an entrepreneur.

– Rubén Epieyú, Kayetamana’s User.

Since the beginning of 2022, the inhabitants of the area received support and training to strengthen their technical and administrative skills. The objective was to empower the Guardians in organizational matters so that they would be able to manage the business and have good financial practices.

This project was possible to the financial support of the Allianz Foundation. The results make it possible for the inhabitants of Kayetamana to now have a store where they can buy refrigerated products to diversify their family shopping basket and also reduce the heat felt during the day, which can reach an average daily maximum temperature of 34 degrees Celsius.

What we sell most in the store is coffee, rice, fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., but also meats and refrigerated products thanks to the solar system. It is amazing what can be achieved with this energy source, and to think that more projects like this can be replicated in La Guajira.

– Marelvis Epieyú, user.

One of the innovations is that the energy used in the store comes from solar panels. Among the main advantages of having this type of energy is that it is decentralized, so it does not require connections to electrical systems for its operation but is independent, generating its own energy according to the energy demand of the community. In addition, it does not emit toxic substances or air pollutants; it does not generate waste or water pollution; it does not emit greenhouse gases, so it does not contribute to global warming; it is inexhaustible, and it renews itself.

In Kayetamana is located our second Tienda Grata, which belongs to the Grata Energy program, and is an initiative that we want to replicate in more communities seeking to promote productive and labor potential through community entrepreneurship. This is a strategy to continue bringing the essentials to everyone.

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