Friday, December 30, 2016
Energy 4 impact empowering women with solar energy.
In a remote village in Tanzania's northern Shinyanga region, Elizabeth Julius switches on her solar lantern to finish sewing clothes for her customers. Not long ago, nightfall would have forced her to close her tailoring shop, or use a smoky kerosene lamp but with the solar-powered lamp, Julius can now sew for as long as she wants. "Solar energy has entirely changed my life. I use it at work and at home, yet it doesn't cost me anything," said the 29-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two. With help from nonprofit organization Energy 4 Impact, Julius is using solar power to grow her business and launch new ventures — and it’s benefiting her whole community. But three years ago, Julius secured a $500 bank loan to buy solar lanterns, which she sold to customers. With the additional income earned, she then sought another larger loan to expand her tailoring business to include a barber shop, mobile phone charging facility and a consumer goods shop, all powered with solar energy. Julius success story started after training from Energy 4 Impact, a London-based non-profit group that works in East and West Africa to improve access to energy. One focus of the group's work is lifting rural women from poverty through clean-energy entrepreneurship. The group's new WIRE (Women Integration into Renewable Energy) value chain project aims to assist 400 women solar entrepreneurs by 2020 with training and finance, and help some of them provide 360,000 people in Kenya and Tanzania with access to clean cooking and solar lighting products. The programme is part of the Partnership on Women's Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) launched by the U.S. State Department in 2013. Julius said business management and technology training through the project was key to helping her scale up her business and her income,with nothing to complain about. She said virtually everybody in the village is happy with what they are doing and their services are exclusively solar. Source