Over 100 years ago, women’s suffrage advocated that women should have the right to vote. Today, through the #PoweringJobs campaign, we are now advocating for more local and gender inclusive energy workforces to bring energy access to villages.
After several years of informal collaboration, ElleSolaire and SolarAid are officially partnering to deliver access to clean energy in Senegal’s rural communities through women entrepreneurs. In a country with six million people living without electricity, women will play an important role in bringing clean energy to families living where traditional distribution channels do not exist.
During a six month pilot study in Senegal, ElleSolaire recruited local women from across the Fatick region and provided them with training and support in sales, marketing and financial management. The women entrepreneurs earned extra income from selling solar lights, which could be put back into their community, funding children’s education and health clinic visits, and purchasing necessary items, such as food and clothes. By the end of the pilot, over 3,500 people had access to electricity for the first time. ElleSolaire and SolarAid hope to reach more than double the number of people in the coming year.
Through the Sustainable Development Goals, countries and development stakeholders have made a bold commitment to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. While the number of people living without access to electricity fell below one billion for the first time this year, 200 million people are still living in energy poverty in West Africa alone. More support and investment is needed to ensure those living in the most remote and disadvantaged communities have access to sustainable markets.
Together, ElleSolaire and SolarAid will work to address gender inequality and provide access to clean energy to those who need it most. No one should be left in the dark, and with the support and participation of local women, no one has to.