How can the life-transforming benefits of clean cooking and solar technologies be taken to the most underserved, hard-to-reach communities across Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania? One effective way is to engage women at all levels of clean energy sales and distribution. Solar Sister, a long-time partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and recipient of a Women’s Empowerment Fund (WEF) grant, does it by recruiting, training, and mentoring women to run their own clean technology enterprises.
With the support of the WEF grant, Solar Sister is applying the agency-based empowerment concepts and leadership strategies of the Alliance’s Empowered Entrepreneur Handbook to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of Solar Sister’s network of clean energy entrepreneurs. Since 2010, Solar Sister has enabled 2,000 local African business women to bring clean cooking and solar solutions to over 350,000 beneficiaries in three countries. The WEF grant specifically supports a pilot to integrate the Empowered Entrepreneur Handbook into Solar Sister’s training program in Uganda, customizing the curriculum to Solar Sister’s unique model and approach to women’s enterprise development. If this pilot project is successful, Solar Sister plans to incorporate the Handbook into its institutional training work across its focus countries.