Elephant Energy was founded in 2008 by Doug Vilsack. While working in Namibia for the World Wildlife Fund, Doug noticed a severe gap in the energy access in Katima Mulilo, a small region in the North of the country. Farmers needed lights to protect their fields from elephants who would destroy their crop at night. He reached out to friends and family to raise funds for the first round of solar lights to be distributed in Namibia.
When distributing lights, Doug and his team found great challenges, but an even greater need. Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country in the world. It’s low population density combined with high import tariffs makes it an extremely challenging country in which to do business. It is a country often forgotten about by traditional non-profits and social enterprises. Yet more than 1 million people lack access to electricity in Namibia and 60% of the country’s electricity comes from imported fossil fuels.