SolarFi Telehealth Mobile Clinics
One-line solution summary:
SolarFi Cares Mobile Clinics are solar-powered pods featuring a telehealth strategy to provide assistance from doctors that may be far away.
Pitch your solution.
All countries have faced one major dilemma: whether to sacrifice economic well-being to protect as many people from the virus as possible, nor to forego public health measures to conserve the country's economic status. Our solution tackles the current response to COVID-19, as well as other widespread diseases. SolarFi Cares Mobile Clinics will focus on primary preventive care equipped with health supplies for COVID-19 and other diseases, while harnessing telemedicine for advanced clinical support in rural areas where this is not currently accessible.
Off-grid mobile clinics are increasingly playing an important role in maximizing reach remote communities while lowering cost barriers of healthcare access.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
Underserved areas such as Nigeria co-exist with industrial urban centres in different parts of Africa for various reasons. Some of the underlying causes include economic disparity and pervasive poverty, which have led to rapid rural-to-urban migration, economic stagnation and depression, high unemployment rates, a struggling economy, forced or manipulated ghettozation, poor urban planning, politics, natural disasters and social conflicts.
Power is needed for social (e.g., being connecting to family, friends and the world) and economic (e.g., being well educated and capable of creating jobs, improving businesses such as agriculture) development. However, over 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity (according to the Word Bank database). Access to electricity is problematic in sub-Saharan Africa and especially in the rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
Whether it be a global pandemic like COVID-19 or a local outbreak of another disease, technology plays a vital role in helping to spread access to information about disease prevention and health care advice. We believe that mobile clinics with telecoms would be particularly helpful in aiding support to these remote communities.
What is your solution?
SolarFi is a portable, solar-powered, multi-functional phone charging kiosk. The product is innovative and unique: addressing 11 of the 17 UN sustainable development goals developed in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Further, it directly addresses the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) global initiative, implemented to achieve universal energy access and energy efficiency. An informal solar charging station was test launched in 2015 by Abdul Sannoh of UNDP Sierra Leone with two kiosks being placed in the country. The charging station was an instant success, creating a huge following. However, two kiosks were insufficient: long lines were formed, and, consequently, people were forced to leave their phones to charge for more than eight hours. This doubled the transportation cost of its clients. Also, no locking mechanisms were available for the phones. With sufficient funding, more kiosks could be implemented and security mechanisms added. Mr. Sannoh suggests that seventeen SolarFi charging systems could be placed in three districts to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. SMART clinic uses access to mobile phones, and the internet to draw people to the clinic. By luring them to the clinic to do their homework, and to charge their phones they are more inclined to see a doctor for preventative care.
SolarFi will help people at the BOP (bottom of the pyramid). It is capable of charging 40-60 mobile phones simultaneously and can provide Wi-Fi for up to 80 users. It is designed for “off-grid” locations, offering immediate resolution to isolated communities, who can be expected to benefit from the Kiosk’s services 24/7. In addition to these services, SolarFi will provide access to free, potentially life-changing healthcare information provided by USAID and UNICEF, including HIV prevention. SolarFi kiosks would strategically be placed in front of rural hospitals and clinics for convenience. Mondays will be Medical Monday’s, Tuesday Tech days teaching kids Microsoft word, and how to code, Wednesday’s best practices in agriculture, farming is the backbone of an African country.
Furthermore, SolarFi will partner with the necessary aid organizations to ensure that citizens have access to language-learning classes, encouraging professional development and education. Furthermore, it will offer a free messaging service, similar to WhatsApp. The cost to use the kiosk is low. The average user is expected to save up to 33% of their income by using SolarFi thus encouraging them to be around the proper healthcare environments.
- Development Objective(s):
- To tackle energy poverty in: Sierra Leone via the installation of sustainable and portable solar-powered phone charging kiosks.
- To bring communities together, whilst economically empowering citizens and giving businesses the opportunity to flourish.
- To improve the health of citizens, by ensuring that SolarFi users can gain access to healthcare such as vaccinations.
- To empower citizens through access to knowledge such as hand washing, HIV prevention, polio, and other health-related issues.
- To actively address:
- The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) global initiative, established in 2010.
- The UN sustainable development goals established in 2015.
- Plan of Action
- Phase 1: Widespread Implementation of SolarFi Kiosks
- Phase 2: Partnership between SolarFi and Health Organizations (Vaccination Promotion)
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Our solution aims to serve underserved communities in different countries around the world. This could be the community of Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria or other underprivileged, poor communities in the United States that lack access to steady internet or job opportunities.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Provide low-income, remote, and refugee communities access to digital infrastructure and safe, affordable internet.
Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.
At SolarFi, we are dedicated to helping women and minorities recognize that, often, the reasons that some communities are underpriviledged are very complex in nature. Therefore, we believe that our SolarFi pods are versatile enough to meet these complex issues. Our pods can be adapted to meet several different issues that exist in underserved communities, be it lack of educational resources or access to proper health services. The built in telecoms will make such resources available.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Boston, MA, USA
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community.
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
We have built over 50 SolarFi pods. We are testing in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and the USA. Additionally, we are considering plausible locations in which establishing a set of mobile clinics would be most beneficial for meeting the project's goals.
Who is the Team Lead for your solution?
Antonio Dixon is Executive Director of SolarFi.
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
What makes your solution innovative?
Our solution is innovative because it takes into consideration multiple aspects of oppression which underserved communities face. Indeed, while these communities face lack of access to proper healthcare resources, they commonly also face lack of access to several other amenities, such as the internet, education and even jobs. Our mobile clinics aim to face four challenges in one: we will provide access to healthcare, steady internet and thus educational resources regarding health-related topics and more, and finally job opportunities in the form of clinical jobs and pod maintenance. It is our goal to allow each community to utilize these pods as they see fit, adjusting the resources provided to the unique needs of their own community.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We are currently in the process of developing our Solar Mobile Clinics, and have not yet implemented them.
How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?
To us, providing sustainable solutions to the problems that underserved communities face is a vital aspect of fighting the climate crisis. With that in mind, right now, we are testing our efforts to provide sustainable resources on a smaller scale in various locations. In 2020, we were able to form key parternships with several organizations. Some of our clients included Rosa Mexicano, Eataly, New York Fashion Week, IMG and MassMutual. Additionally, we recruited a highly-skilled COO from MIT and partnered with cities to install our pods for business use, gaining commitment from the mayor of Houston to incorporate our products into two different projects. We began manufacturing at Greentown Labs, jumpstarted our patent creation in China and were able to file our trademark. Finally, we were awarded a grant from FaceBook and successfully closed a government deal through a sole source, being the only company to make solar-powered pods.
What type of organization is your solution team?
Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit
How many people work on your solution team?
How long have you been working on your solution?
We began developing plans for this solution shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak began, after witnessing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the globe.
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Our team at SolarFi consists of skilled individuals from various backgrounds who all share an interest in two things; doing something about the climate crisis and, more specifically, helping the underserved communities that have suffered the most from the climate crisis. Experienced in key areas such as leadership, business development, marketing and engineering, our team is prepared to face the challenges that our audience have.
For instance, our president, Antonio Dixon, is an MIT-trained, award-winning entrepreneur and economist with experience in healthcare (telehealth), renewable energy, and international trade, which has led him to work over 20 international markets and travel to over 60 countries. His experience visiting several disadvantaged communities in countries around the globe has aided in his passion for gaining a better understanding of the complexity of the issues that these communities face. As an African American, he aims to use his experiences to give back to his own community.
Russ Klein, head of innovation at SolarFi, is a professional innovation consultant who brings technology and best-practices to under-developed and under-served markets. He empowers people by inspiring them to experiment with disruptive tools and processes and encouraging them to use 21st-century technologies to create a better world. Over the last 25 years, he has founded more than a dozen startup technology companies developing software and information products for industries such as e-commerce, machine learning, multifactor security and biometrics, education, communications, and media systems. We plan to utilize his skills in developing better technologies for our audience.
What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?
We strive to help diverse communities with our products. As such, we want to include diversity in our own staff—that's why we're striving to hire team members with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
One of our team members, Yvonne Khamati (director at SolarFi), is the youngest Ambassador that Kenya has ever had and is now Kenya’s head of Chancery and deputy permanent representative to the Kenya Mission to the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). UNON comprises all UN offices in Nairobi plus UNEP and UN-HABITAT. she serves as the treasurer of Yimbo Professional Union Three years after, she earned a positions a Foreign Service post as Deputy African Union Ambassador following negotiations by her party leader Musikari Kombo in 2005. She began her political career officially at 20. In 2014 Khamati was ranked top 20 most powerful women in Africa.
Another team member, Lai Yahaya (director), is an energy, infrastructure and development adviser to senior policy makers in Sub-Saharan Africa. He was most recently Senior Special Assistant to the President in Nigeria, with responsibility for Policy and Strategy. He was previously Team Leader of the Senior Advisors Group of the US government Power Africa initiative, working to provide advice to serving government leaders on how best to navigate and drive power sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, he was also formerly Team Leader of the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER), a donor-funded initiative designed to support the restructuring of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Government (B2G)
Why are you applying to Solve?
We are applying to Solve because we want to be apart of the solution to making issues like diversity and the climate more visible.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
We take pride in providing clear, precise messages to potential investors. As such, we're continually updating our pitches as they become more specialized.
We are also continuing to prioritize consistency in our marketing strategies, ensuring that our audience makes contact with us on multiple platforms.
For product and service distribution, we are planning on expanding our client base by reaching as many customers and organizations as possible via weekly newsletters. Additionally, we keep an ongoing list of publications to contact prior to events, so that we have organizations to spread news related to SolarFi.
As far as technology, we are continually staying up to date with the best forms of solar power structures, and are consistently searching for key partnerships that will aid in our production of these pods.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
We would like to partner with the MIT Solar Energy Initiative. Like the MIT Solar Energy Initiative, we are aiming to speak with policymakers in order to ensure that action regarding the climate crisis happens. We believe that a partnership with such an initiative would be key in terms of making change happen.
Additionally, we would like to partner with representatives and the mayor of New York, the state which SolarFi is headquartered in. Currently, we are forming a partnership with the Mayor of Houston, Texas to ensure that clean technology is utilized in future projects. We would like to encourage a similar situation in New York, with a specific focus on underserved communities. In Houston underserved communities falls under the Mayor's legacy project called complete communities.
About Complete Communities
Complete Communities is about improving neighborhoods so that all of Houston’s residents and business owners can have access to quality services and amenities. It’s about working closely with the residents of communities that haven’t reached their full potential, understanding their strengths and opportunities, and collaborating with partners across the city to strengthen them. While working to improve these communities, we must also work to ensure existing residents can stay in homes that remain affordable.
Our SolarFi pods will create outdoor markets similar to Bryant Park's Winter Market. I'm passionate about giving people an opportunity, especially underserved people, and underdogs. The new SolarFi bliss gives people an opportunity. The opportunity to have a mobile storefront to sell food & beverage, arts & crafts without waiting for the weekend farmer's market. Traditionally people are using generators for markets, however, most people in low-income areas don't have the income to set up at a market.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The ASA Prize for Equitable Education to advance your solution?
Through our SolarFi Mobile Clinics, we are actively aiming to address the health and well-being of people in the U.S. However not only will these clinics provide access to medical resources, they will also provide access to an outside environment in which people can benefit from internet access.We believe that our pods encourage a unique blend of nature and technology, encouraging people to enjoy an outdoor atmosphere. Being outdoors can aid in better mental health, as well as rehabilitative efforts for physical ailments.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion to advance your solution?
Our mobile clinics will aim to serve underserved communities specifically. This being said, we want to make our pods available to all communities in need, including refugees. Extremely versatile, these pods can be used to house refugees in addition to acting as medical centers.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity to advance your solution?
Often, underserved communities do not have the resources to specialize in providing opportunities to women which acknowledge their disadvantages, both economic or social. With this in mind, the job opportunities that these mobile clinics introduce will be marketed with a special emphasis to women minorities.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?
Our pods will incorporate IoT sensors, which will collect data information regarding pod customers, weather and more. This information can be used to improve many aspects of community life, and will help us to create better technology suited towards the needs of the community. For instance, if we know that more teens visit our medical pods, we will ensure to have educational resources and entertainment suited to that audience.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The AI for Humanity Prize to advance your solution?
When fully implemented, our solution will aim to have a chain of pods in several disadvantaged communities not only in the U.S., but also in Africa. Our pods will be vital in terms of providing access to teleheath officials in communities in remote locations.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GSR Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
Yes, I wish to apply for this prize
Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The GSR Prize Prize to advance your solution?
Here at SolarFi, we believe in giving back to our communities. Since our headquarters are in New York, New York, we are striving to provide access to our pods in the state of New York as well. Currently, we are providing our pods to Wyomanock Farms in Stephenson, New York.
- Antonio Dixon President , SolarFi - Connected to the world