Women Energy Entrepreneurs in Kenya

Energising Female Empowerment

An innovative programme of business skills training and safe, sustainable energy is lighting up a new generation of female entrepreneurs.

 

Active Project

The Challenge

In Kenya, few rural households have access to electricity. Most rely on dangerous kerosene lamps, wood and charcoal. This lack of modern, clean energy is harming women and children.

  • Women in Kenya undertake most household chores while running small businesses to make ends meet. But a lack of education and training opportunities makes it difficult for them to earn a sufficient income to meet basic needs.
  • A lack of property ownership among women makes it difficult to secure bank loans, so it’s even harder to learn new skills or invest in a business.
  • The fumes produced by kerosene and coal indoors are causing health problems for women and children.
  • As traditional fuels like wood become less available it takes longer to find and collect it, leaving little time to run a business.

“I used to sell cereals in bulk, it was a lot of work with a small profit margin which left me most of the times in want.”

Agnes Mahero, Kakamega County

The Ingenious Solution

The key to success in Kenya was to take a fully rounded approach, supporting 730 women with the skills, knowledge and networks to grow a self-sustaining clean energy industry selling cookstoves, briquettes and solar products. Supporting women as both consumers and business owners.

  • Women were shown how to make fuel briquettes by compacting household waste like charcoal dust, sawdust, and coconut husks. These could be used in cookstoves, providing a more affordable, safer and cleaner energy source.
  • Participants were also given business skills, market information and access to financial support and networks. Allowing them to sell new cookstoves and other solar-powered products including lighting and battery chargers. Offering the villages cheaper, cleaner energy alternatives.
  • The new cookstoves sold by the women also used less fuel, making them cheaper to run and when combined with the briquettes, meant women no longer needed to spend hours searching for wood every day. Giving them more time to get an education or earn an income.
  • Research found that uptake of the new products improved when they were sold by women to women. Proving there is huge potential for women to lead the way in increasing the use of clean energy, a sector traditionally dominated by men.
  • By increasing the income of the energy entrepreneurs in Kenya we also increase the investment in their family and wellbeing. Leading to stronger, happier, more independent units.

“One day I will be able to distribute many stoves in the region, especially with the marketing skills I have learned from the project. I hope to distribute about 300 stoves a month and earn more income from individual sales. I have also been trained on briquettes making and I am hoping to acquire a machine to start production to diversify my business. I am happy distributing good health, clean air and a greener environment through my business.”

Tabitha Njoki from Kagicha, Chinga, Nyeri County

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