Solar Sister has women in rural Africa sell clean energy solutions, which brings light to their communities and turns them into entrepreneurs in the process.
In rural Nigeria, a woman named Iniobong opened a maternity clinic to serve her community. It had no electricity, so she used candlelight or kerosene to deliver babies and care for mothers. One day, a woman named Blessing brought a solar light to her prenatal check-up. It sparked Iniobong’s interest, so Blessing told her that she could sell it and other clean energy products herself if she became a “Solar Sister Entrepreneur.”
Iniobong started out by buying solar lights and a better cookstove to use at her own clinic. Today, the money she earns as a Solar Sister entrepreneur goes into running her clinic and providing care for the women in her community.
“When it came time to bring Blessing’s son into the world, there was still no electricity, but both the patient and nurse were armed with bright solar lights,” said Caroline Mailloux, director of engagement for Solar Sister. “They successfully delivered Blessing’s son into a bright room with no open flames or dangerous fumes.”
Solar Sister is a nonprofit that is working to eradicate energy poverty by empowering women to be entrepreneurs. It’s a women-run direct sales network that distributes clean energy technology such as solar lights, mobile phone chargers and clean cook stoves to communities across rural Africa.
The International Energy Agency estimates that 585 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, and in some areas of the continent, off-grid households spend $0.50-$0.60 per day on kerosene lighting and basic charging costs. And according to Mailloux, many people are forced to utilize toxic, expensive alternatives like kerosene or paraffin, which can cause burns and respiratory illness, and also costs up to 40% of household expenditures.
Women are critical to the eradication of global poverty. According to the World Bank, if all women had equal access to productive resources, up to 150 million fewer people would go hungry every day.
“Women are often overlooked and underserved by economic opportunity,” Mailloux said. “Solar Sister’s approach ensures that women’s voices are heard and needs are met as we scale our impact.”
Press link for more: Lindsey Gilpin | techrepublic.com