Solar Sister, one of the key wPOWER founding partners, is a game changing organization – the world’s first women-led innovation unlocking women’s sustainable energy entrepreneurship and leadership at scale. Solar Sister’s last mile distribution network eradicates energy poverty in some of the world’s hardest to reach, energy poorest areas.
Solar Sister has a strong ecosystem approach that includes women in leadership positions, partnerships with most innovative manufacturers, investment in capacity of local workforce, and distribution network comprised of women entrepreneurs who sell, deliver and service world class sustainable energy solutions to their community’s doorsteps.
Solar Sister’s dedicated coaches known as Business Development Associates recruit, train and support women by forming ‘sisterhood’ circles. Women come together to learn, share and pick up their inventory. Solar Sister entrepreneurs provide a diverse mix of affordable solar lamps, mobile phone chargers and fuel-efficient stoves, allowing them to become financially independent and contribute to household earnings. Since 2010, Solar Sister has built a thriving network of over 2400 entrepreneurs across Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
A recent study from Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship “Turning on the Lights: Transcending Energy Poverty Through the Power of Women Entrepreneurs” highlights the critical role played by Solar Sister’s trust networks to create a ripple effect of benefits beyond lighting. The survey research of more than 250 women in 20 villages in Tanzania found that beyond their ability to provide better lighting, solar-powered lanterns distributed by Solar Sister entrepreneurs have far-reaching effects in areas such as education, health, productivity, finances and women’s economic and social empowerment.
“You see those who use solar, their progress is good. Because they have a good chance to study.” Beatrice is a teacher and Solar Sister entrepreneur. She spends her day educating her students, and works to make sure they have the resources (including solar lights!) that will help them succeed.
Beyond this transformational direct impact, Solar Sister is continuing to advocate for gender inclusive clean energy solutions, inspiring organizations around the world through its rigorous evidence, mentoring and best practices. Hear directly from Solar Sister entrepreneurs through the flagship Women + Energy: WE Shine campaign here – https://www.solarsister.org/weshine