Nodepage

Women energy entrepreneurs

The problem

Women in Kenya face inequality in many areas of their lives. Not only do they undertake most of the household chores, care for the family but many also run small businesses to make ends meet. A lack of education, training opportunities and finance make it difficult for women to make sufficient income to meet their basic needs.

Few rural households in Kenya have access to grid electricity. Most still use dangerous kerosene for lighting, and wood or charcoal for cooking. This lack of modern energy harms the health of women and children and the daily drudgery of fuel collection takes time that could be spent more productively.

Practical Action is addressing both these issues in an innovative programme to help women develop businesses for energy products and offer consumers access to safe, sustainable energy products for their homes,

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Supporting women's economic empowerment through clean energy enterprise development

Women energy entrepreneurs in Kenya (Phase 2)

Location: Murang’a, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Siaya and Nairobi, Kenya
Number of beneficiaries: 642 women entrepreneurs reaching out to 364,200 consumers
Project date: January 2019 - December 2022
Partners: Sustainable Community Development Services (SCODE)
Principal funders: Energia, Swedish International Development Agency
 

Access to sustainable energy can transform women’s lives. We are working with women across Kenya to help them develop clean energy enterprises. By providing training in business skills and planning, access to market information, networks and finance, women  able to develop profitable businesses manufacturing and selling cookstoves, briquettes and solar products. 

The benefits are multiple. When women are involved as entrepreneurs in the energy business, consumers gain access to vital energy services, women are empowered by running their own business and their families benefit from the increased income.

Improved cookstoves use a third of the fuel of traditional stoves, saving money and reducing deforestation. They also reduce indoor air pollution, improving health. Briquettes use waste materials like charcoal dust, sawdust and other household biomass waste like coconut husks, which are compacted and can then be used in stoves, providing an affordable technology that is a safe and a cleaner energy source than firewood. The solar products range from household lighting to USB battery chargers, offering a range of safe, clean and affordable energy options. 

Activities include:

  • Entrepreneurship development/mentoring and job creation
  • Training in product development, marketing and business management
  • Building market links to kick start new businesses, scale up existing ones and increase incomes, building on lessons learned in previous project
  • Addressing bottlenecks in access to finance

Paraffin is very expensive but with solar, in the day, you leave it in the sun and by the evening it can light the house. The solar light is very good - clean and clear compared to the paraffin lamp.”  – Elizabeth Otieno Omondi, 54, from Kisumu, Kenya

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Markets play a key role in scaling up solutions that make a difference to the lives of poor men and women

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Empowering women with energy

Few rural households in Kenya have access to grid electricity. Most rely on dangerous kerosene for lighting and wood or charcoal for cooking. This lack of modern energy harms the health of women and children and the daily drudgery of fuel collection takes time that could be...

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Agnes Mahero

Agnes Mahero runs a solar business in Kwisero Market, in Kakamega County, Western Kenya and happily displays her wares in the market centre of Ekero. Before she started in business with solar products, Agnes bought and sold cereals from farmers, bulked them and delivered them for large buy...

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#sheworksforweeworks What is it all about?

"On 11th of May I was up in the wee-hours to catch the 6am flight to Kisumu… My very first time to Western Kenya so I was quite excited to not only meet the women that I heard so much about but to explore a place that I’ve looked forward to visiting for quite some time now..."
Grace Sowairina Msalame

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