Partner in the Spotlight: Solar Sister

Growing Solar Sister’s Women-Centered Clean Energy Last Mile Distribution Network to Combat Energy Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, over 940 million people lack access to electricity, and over 700 million must cook with dangerous fuels like firewood and charcoal. Since 2009, Solar Sister has been combating energy poverty across sub-Saharan Africa by recruiting, training, and supporting women entrepreneurs who establish clean energy distribution businesses.

Our award-winning model impacts the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by promoting economic development, social inclusion, and environmental protection. Our model continues to lead a global transformation as the first to tap into the power of women’s trust networks to deliver clean energy to underserved communities, opening the door to greater health, safety, education, and economic prosperity. Solar Sister invests in building a network of local women entrepreneurs to ensure sustainability, building their capacity to create and sustain local businesses.

Solar Sister’s efforts span sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the most underserved and energy-deprived communities. Currently, we work in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya. Here, energy poverty remains critical, impacting millions of lives. By empowering women entrepreneurs, we can drive significant change. Women will become leaders and decision-makers in their homes and businesses. These women will, in turn, provide clean energy solutions that improve living standards and foster sustainable development.

With the support of ENERGIA, our goal is to scale our network to reach 10,000 women entrepreneurs, bringing clean energy access to 10 million people. Following the successful pilots of the Business Booster and the Digital Literacy programs, we aim to deploy these initiatives at scale across the markets we operate in.

“Witnessing the journey of women who join Solar Sister as entrepreneurs, often starting with little to no prior business experience, and watching them grow their businesses and become leaders in their communities is incredibly fulfilling. These women are not only providing access to clean energy solutions but also serving as role models, challenging traditional gender roles, and driving positive change in their societies”.

Olasimbo Sojinrin, Solar Sister COO

Through this project, we aim to support more than 2,400 women entrepreneurs. Providing the necessary training, resources, and support through our Advanced Training curriculum and enhanced digital literacy will enable these women to eradicate energy poverty in their communities and beyond.

We measure the impact of Solar Sister’s model on women’s families and communities via increased income, increased time for productive work, and reduced energy costs.

Expected Outcomes:

Through Solar Sister’s hands-on model, more women entrepreneurs will be empowered and equipped with the skills, knowledge, and resources to sustainably engage in the supply of energy services to last-mile communities and in the productive use of energy. Thus, more women will be able to grow and expand their businesses, eradicating energy poverty. Women’s economic empowerment makes them leaders and decision-makers in their homes and businesses.

Due to reduced reliance on dangerous fuels, families and communities will experience enhanced health and safety, better energy access, and significant progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, improving education and productivity.