Female entrepreneurs spread solar lights in rural Tanzania

9 out of 10 people in rural Tanzania do not have access to electricity. Their homes are lit up with simple kerosene lamps, which cause diseases, emit carbon dioxide and do not produce more light than a cigarette lighter. Social entrepreneur Katherine Lucey has previously worked on large-scale energy projects for the banking sector. She decided to use her experience to strengthen the role of women through entrepreneurship and clean energy, and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In 2010, she therefore started Solar Sister.

Solar Sister recruits and educates poor women in rural Tanzania to become so-called Solar Sisters – entrepreneurs selling solar lights. The women sell solar lights in the villages that contribute to cleaner air in homes, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and also reduce families’ spending on kerosene In addition, children are better able to do their homework after dark. The income from the lamps means independence for women who invest in better education, nutritious food and health for the family. For some, this is the start of a bigger entrepreneurship journey, with several employees.

Social Initiative has been working with Solar Sister since 2015. Together with some of our partners, we have enabled Solar Sister to expand its operations into new parts of Tanzania, thereby creating more entrepreneurs and increasing access to energy-efficient lighting.

Due to the corona pandemic in 2020, Social Initiative together with our partners contributed with extra support. The Solar Sister entrepreneurs received personal protective equipment (PPE), solar powered radios and phone charges for entrepreneurs located in remote villages.

During 2020 Social Initiative contributed to:

94 recruited and trained Solar Sisters
14,000 tonnes of reduced
CO2 emissions
54,000 underserved people accessed to solar lights