Solar Sister is bringing an ecosystem change to the problem of global energy poverty by including women as active participants in a sustainable market-based solution. Solar Sister addresses the gender face of energy poverty head on by combining the breakthrough potential of affordable clean energy technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope, and opportunity to rural women, girls, and their families.
In Uganda, Solar Sister has built a sustainable, market-based distribution network of Solar Sister Entrepreneurs who provide access solar lighting, mobile phone charging, and clean cookstoves to underserved and hard to reach rural communities, improving health and economic development, and providing measurable positive impact on the environment.
Moving forward, Solar Sister will extend this network in order to build a scalable market-based distribution channel across sub-Saharan Africa that brings clean energy to rural customers' doorstep where traditional distribution channels simply do not exist. By using an Avon-style, women-driven, 'last mile' distribution model for portable solar lights and solar mobile phone charging solutions, and other clean energy technologies, Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses that empower rural African women to become clean energy entrepreneurs. In doing so, women are integrated in both supply and demand side of a grassroots green economy.
Over the next three years, Solar Sister will scale its high impact last mile distribution network by expanding the program to three new countries beyond Uganda: Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. Solar Sister will recruit, train, and support an additional 3,000 women entrepreneurs to build a network, creating a direct path for women to become active and knowledgeable participants in the energy supply chain, and providing them with economic opportunity. This expanded program will bring the benefits of solar lighting, mobile phone charging, and clean cookstove technologies to the benefit of 2.7 million Africans. In addition to greatly expanded access, this will bring cumulative household economic benefits of $48.6 million by replacing 198 million liters of kerosene use and mitigating 610,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Solar Sister's long-term goal is to use rigorous testing with a robust feedback loop to build a 10,000 Solar Sister Entrepreneur strong network in 10 years, which will bring the benefits of solar technologies to over 20 million Africans.
Today, 1.6 billion people on the planet do not have access to electricity. Of this number, 70% are women and girls. Across the world, women are the managers of household energy use and are the primary customers making usage choices. In order to achieve widespread use of clean energy technologies in addressing energy poverty, women need access to products and knowledge to make informed purchase decisions. Additionally, market-based distribution models must be developed that are sustainable and that extend to hard to reach rural communities.
The potential for clean energy technologies to have a positive impact on individuals and communities in underserved areas is profound. Solar light improves public health, mitigates climate change, increases productive hours for small businesses, and helps children study even after it gets dark. Clean cookstoves improve household health and economics. At the same time, a mobile phone charging facility within an easy reach brings the benefit of improved connectivity to households, businesses, and health clinics alike.
Solar Sister is seeking financial and implementation partners to scale the network of women entrepreneurs bringing clean energy access to rural sub-Saharan Africa. Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investment in women entrepreneurs. When you invest in a woman, you invest in the future.