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Of the 1.6 billion people that don’t have access to electricity in the world, 70% are women and girls.Solar Sister: Bringing a market based, gender inclusive, bottom up clean energy revolution to Africa , by Neha Misra, Director of Programs and Development at Solar Sister, 17 June 2011 Solar Sister is an organisation that builds a network of women solar entrepreneurs to address energy poverty.
The organisation provides clean energy to rural women by empowering them economically and making them the key players in the provision of technology solutions, therefore also bridging the women-technology gap.
It uses a market-based approach based on the micro-consignment model. This model ensures that women’s particular situation is taken into consideration (including lack of access to capital and low-threshold for risk), while also granting women financial security as they build out their sales through their network of family, friends and the community at large.
Through combination of the breakthrough potential of solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network, Solar Sister aims ” to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa”.Solar Sister website, available at: http://www.solarsister.org/
A success story
A first pilot project was carried out in Uganda in March 2010. At present, Solar Sister has 107 women entrepreneurs in 3 countries: Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan , bringing the benefits of solar power to more than 4, 360 people.
Given the success of the programme, the next steps are to:
- develop a mobile interface IT enabled tracking and reporting mechanism for the Solar Sister entrepreneurs
- build a network of 5000 Solar Sister entrepreneurs in 5 African countries in 5 years, bringing the benefits of clean energy to over 2.5 million people annually.