Solar is the most distributed energy source we have. The same sun shines down on everyone. And with advances in technology, it is an available and affordable source of light and energy. It is simply not acceptable to me that so many people in the world suffer from energy poverty. Working in sub-Saharan Africa, I have the privilege of experiencing first hand how simple light can transform lives. With light, children can study at night, women can care for their families, midwives can see to help women give birth, shopkeepers can improve their businesses, the list goes on and on. Light is truly a source of good and plenty.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where only 5% of the rural population has access to electricity, solar is the perfect energy source to eliminate energy poverty, as it takes advantage of their most abundant resource, the hot African sun. By replacing the need to buy kerosene every week, families have a safer, cleaner and brighter energy source, and they save money, up to 30% of their household expenses. That money is then invested in children’s education, the family’s health or new income opportunities. Giving access to solar technology has a tremendous ripple effect of benefits.
The puzzle then becomes: How to provide access to the solar technology in a way that reaches the people with the most need, the people living in remote rural villages far from the closest electrical grid? How to create a program that is scalable and sustainable? How to involve the women, not just as passive consumers of technology, but as active participants in the adaptation of that technology? I found the answers to those questions by talking to and really listening to the women living with energy poverty day in and day out.
The answers they gave me were full of pride and dignity. As one woman expressed her desire, “My children need light to study so they can do well in school. That is what I hope for. I want to be able to care for my own family. If I have the opportunity to earn some money, I can give them a better future.”
Solar Sister was formed as a response to that heartfelt desire for light, hope and opportunity. In just a few short years, Solar Sister has grown from a small project in a village on a mountain in Eastern Uganda to become a green revolution powered by women’s enterprise. I am humbled to be part of this growing network of amazing women. Join us. You can follow along by checking in on this website, joining our facebook page or following on Twitter @Solar_Sister. If you are inspired to create the change you want to see in the world, you can make a difference by investing directly in an Entrepreneur. However you choose to get involved, I know that the experience will make your life a little bit brighter. And together, we will light up the world.
Light. Hope. Opportunity.
Founder & CEO, Solar Sister