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We are pleased to introduce to you our August Organization Highlight of the Month, Solar Sister. They believe that investing in women isn’t only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do and they work tirelessly to create sustainable opportunities for women.

Solar Sister Ezo Sudan

 

Mission, Mandate and Goals

Solar Sister is a green energy revolution powered by women's enterprise. Solar sister’s mandate is to build a grassroots network of women entrepreneurs to solve a global problem of energy poverty. They aim to bring light, hope and opportunity right to the doorstep of households across sub-Saharan Africa with our network of Solar Sister Entrepreneurs.

How do they make African women count?

Solar Sister is the only organization in the world formed with the exclusive mission to build an Africa wide network of women clean energy entrepreneurs. As the primary consumers of household energy, Solar Sister believes that women are critical to the successful adaptation of clean energy technology solutions. They believe that investing in women is thus a prerequisite for large-scale adoption of clean energy technologies at a grassroots level. With their focus being on women’s enterprise, Solar Sister tells us that they are able to foster a sustainable bottom-up, grassroots approach and work to reduce the start up financial risk for women entrepreneurs.

They believe that it is this gender inclusive systems approach combined with an enterprise-based model to bring a sustainable livelihood opportunity to address energy poverty that makes their organization one of a kind. Solar Sister provides a scalable solution to build a bottom up green economy.

So how does it work? The entrepreneur get a “business in a bag” which includes a business start up kit, marketing and business support materials, along with training and mentoring by their organization to build their own Solar Sister business. This allows female entrepreneurs to generate higher incomes and bring multiple benefits of clean energy to their customers—a win, win situation in promoting equality and sustainable development. Solar Sister tells us that their model provides flexibility to bundle up energy services by adding complimentary product lines to the distribution portfolio which includes micro portable solar solutions for lighting, mobile phone, radio charging to small scale business solutions like phone charging business kits, improved cookstoves for market ladies and entertain centers. 

 

IMG 2432-1

 

Solar Sister’s Success Highlights

When asked to tell us about their main successes, Solar Sister provided us with an inspiring and heartwarming response that we believe really encapsulates the spirit of their organization. They told us that their main successes are the direct changes in the lives of women entrepreneurs and their customers who now have clean solar light. Their success is the many women involved in their project—women like Grace and Zuura. With the support of Solar Sister, Grace is now able to send all of her children to school—both the boys and girls. Zuura was able to put herself through nursing school with the income she earned as a Solar Sister entrepreneur.

Another woman has become so well respected for her success in her community, that they have asked her to run for local council. Solar Sister believes that it is the individual stories that give meaning to their numbers, which we have to say are very impressive too! They currently three countries, with over 450 entrepreneurs, and provide clean energy technologies that benefit over 60,000 people.

You can read more about their impact by numbers and success highlights here.

 
Solar Sister’s Main Challenges

Solar Sisters biggest challenges are finding resources and talent to scale their program to meet the size of the problem. They went on to explain to us that, “over a quarter of the world's population experiencing energy poverty, we need to grow fast to make a dent in that.” Their organization is based on people and relationships, so finding and supporting good talent with strong customer service and marketing skills is something they believe to be key to their success. Solar Sister very much welcomes input with anyone with expertise and advice in building strong sales and marketing organization as well as, of course, financial support to make it all work.

 

Solar Sisters with business in a bag-2 - Version 2

 

To learn more about them and what a social enterprise business is all about, please visit their website or check out this very helpful thought map on how donations from everyday people bring light, hope and opportunity to women in Africa.

If you would like to connect with Solar Sister or learn more about the great work they are doing please visit them on:

Twitter: @Solar_Sister
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/solarsister.org
Or contact them by:
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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