Capcon grantee LiveylHoods gave Capcon Founder & President Jon Freeman a lesson he’ll not soon forget.  Visiting with Livelyhoods personnel in Kenya, Jon was thrown into the deep end as he was challenged to sell clean energy products door to door in an urban neighborhood of Nairobi which is wracked by poverty.  It was a humbling experience, but one that increased what has already been a deep respect for the work of LivelyHoods team and those who hold the jobs they create.  Said Freeman “I think of myself as a guy who hustled and created his own success…and I am grateful for it.  But these kids can run circles around me.”

While this business model was admittedly tough sledding for Freeman, it is a foundational part of how Livelyhoods helps to lift people out of poverty.  Livelyhoods describes their approach to alleviating poverty as follows: “By offering training and job opportunities we provide unemployed youth and women with an opportunity to work their  way out of poverty. At the same time, this door-to door distribution network of youth and women from slum communities brings clean-energy products that improve the health and quality of life in these same communities. LivelyHoods products also prevent harmful emissions, reducing deforestation and climate change.”  It is a massive and complex undertaking, though, a fact that Freeman now understands at a deeper level.  “These young people have practically no opportunity to escape poverty without some sort of outside help, be it from the government or NGO’s”, says Freeman. “It’s a sobering thing to see, but each of them needs long term mentoring and training.”

LivelyHoods soldiers on nevertheless, and continues to create jobs, one at a time.   And along the way, they have seen some remarkable success stories of young people who had the talent and the drive, but just needed an opportunity.   And how did Mr. Freeman do?  Well, let’s just say he’s not holding his breath to make salesman of the month.  He’ll leave that to the high performers of LivelyHoods.