Sunken Limited is a producer of energy-saving cooking stoves specifically targeting low-income earners.
The company has set up a production company in Kakuma that allows it to utilize locally available raw materials. The stoves are predominantly marketed to refugees and the host community in the Kakuma Kalobeyei area. Sunken’s stoves have been recognized and recommended after local assessment by institutions such as SNV and UNHCR; studies have shown that the stoves have a high level of efficiency.
Through KKCF funding, Sunken is scaling up the production and distribution of cookstoves within Kakuma and Kalobeyei area. This will create jobs for the local community specifically for women and the youth, while reducing indoor smoke and resultant respiratory illness at household level. Additionally, the stoves will see increased saving and more disposable income from the reduced purchase of charcoal and firewood.
What attracted you to the Kakuma/Kalobeyei area? Why did you choose to apply for the KKCF funding?
Sunken limited became involved in Kakuma through the market-based energy access Program initiated by SNV_Netherlands. Our attraction to Kakuma was based on the potential that lies in the northern frontier. With the improvement of the road network all the way to the Lokichogio and South Sudan border, business in this area was only going to thrive
and today we can see the number of businesses that have emerged, with banks opening their branches, come up from banks opening branches, as well as hotels and resorts setting up for business. In 2018 our first venture was the distribution of solar home systems in the region, and it is through this that we responded to the call for stive production units in the area.
We believe that in the initial 3 years of running the business in Kakuma, we made substantial impact in the community and our products were received very well in the market, KKCF was going to give us a boost in improving our supply to meet the demand that was growing at an alarming rate.
Today because of KKCF we have improved our cookstove production by 100% and expanded our distribution network to 106 LMEs throughout the camps.
What do you look forward to doing in Kakuma/Kalobeyei? How do you see your business growing in the next 5 years? What challenges have you had to overcome?
Sunken has been in Kakuma since 2018, One of our objectives is to be the go-to producer of the energy saving cookstoves sold in the region. We look forward to introducing new and affordable clean cooking methods to the population and play a major part in the eradication of the popular open fire method of cooking.
In Kakuma our biggest challenge in the time we have been here has been the recruitment of competent personnel and also getting the women in the region to heed our call for employment.
What are the expected impacts you foresee in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei area following your interventions?
Job Creation is the biggest social impact we look forward to delivering on, as we carry out training and skills development for the host communities and refugees. The jobs will also be created in the value chain from the production to transport and also procurement of locally available raw materials.
What advice would you give other SMEs that are working in fragile/difficult situations with refugees and their host communities?
Pricing is key: For all those getting into the Market for the first time, they need to put real thought into their pricing in order to be competitive, Analyse your competitions pricing. Kakuma is generally a low-income market.
Culture: Kakuma/Kalobeyei is home to numerous multi-Nationals with diverse cultures and this has a huge impact on the work-place, from recruitment to job allocation.