ENERGIA celebrates International Women’s Day all year round

For ENERGIA, every day is International Women’s Day!

Together with eight partner organizations, we support over 3,000 women in seven countries in Africa and Asia, to become empowered entrepreneurs.  One of these women is Mrs. Kandé, who owns a dairy production business in Kolda, South Senegal.

Mrs. Kandé started her dairy production in 2002. Despite sufficient demand for fresh, pasteurised milk, her production was limited by the inability to power larger machinery and refrigeration. Mentorship from partner GVEP International, along with gaining access to a loan, changed that. Mrs. Kandé used the loan to upgrade her machinery: the two small freezers that preserved her milk were replaced with solar powered tanks and a cold room. This upgrade enabled her to save energy costs and double her production to 300 liters per day. She felt encouraged to recruit six new staff members, which increased her team from seven to thirteen.

Mrs. Kandé’s success has motivated her to share her experience at international events such as the Paris International Agricultural Show. She has become a role model for aspiring businesswomen, and has received recognition for her accomplishments from government officials, including the President of Senegal, Macky Sall.

The ripples extend much farther than Mrs. Kandé’s small business. The partnership between GVEP and SEM Fund will have a considerable impact on all 250 of the entrepreneurs being trained, and their estimated 4,500 family members, who will benefit from the extra family income. It will additionally provide 400,000 women, men and children with improved access to clean energy, including small local trade businesses such as shopkeepers, retail outlets and smallholder farmers.

Additionally, GVEP is dedicated to advocating for energy access and gender equality. The organization works with government officials—inviting them to outreach activities on the economic and social benefits of women’s income-generating work. The organization is contributing to the SE4All national action plan in Senegal and ensuring that gender perspectives remain a part of the energy access conversation. GVEP is also producing media and communications content to advocate for gender and energy issues across the country. Through a joint campaign with SEM Fund, they plan to reach 3 million people in Senegal. This work helps raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges relating to women’s economic empowerment and energy access at the national and community level.