In 2015 the world committed to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030. Six years on, progress on SDG7 in Africa, which aims to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, is going in the wrong direction. For the first time since 2013, the number of people who have access to electricity in Africa is predicted to decline, following the Covid-19 pandemic. This is largely due to shifts in priorities, as governments respond to the pandemic and face growing economic challenges.
This is worrying. It is a trend, however, which we are committed to overturning. We can not, of course, do this alone. To achieve our vision of a world where everyone has access to clean, renewable energy, we recognise the need of working together. That is why working together, in partnership with others, is a key part of SolarAid’s strategy to light up every home, school and clinic in Africa by 2030, using safe, clean, solar power.
In Senegal, we partnered with ElleSolaire in 2018 when they were in the early stages of launching their work to empower women through entrepreneurship and build last mile energy businesses that bring solar energy to rural off grid communities. Today, ElleSolaire has brought incremental income to 575 women and their clean energy solutions have positively impacted the lives of over 97 000 people in Senegal.
We are renewing this partnership in recognition of the power of female entrepreneurship in providing energy access in rural communities, where energy poverty disproportionately affects women and girls. Women are key change-makers in rural communities and this is why we also set up our first female focussed entrepreneurs programme in Malawi earlier this year.
“SolarAid is proud to be working in partnership with ElleSolaire. We believe that only by working together and prioritising serving low income rural households and communities will the world be able to ensure that everyone has access to safe, clean, energy and light by 2030”, says John Keane, CEO, SolarAid.
Renewing the partnership between our two organisationswill support ElleSolaire’s work to train and strengthen capacities of rural women in solar entrepreneurship and recruitment of Village Savings Loans Groups (VSLA’s) but it also aims to electrify health and maternity clinics.
“SolarAid is a valued long standing partner for ElleSolaire. I’m delighted to strengthen this partnership as our organisation expands to empower women through scaling our unique women’s savings groups (VSLAs) clean energy entrepreneurship model across Senegal. Our shared sustainable development goals mean that together, and with the trust and commitment of local women and communities, we will bring solar energy to the off-grid populations who need it most”, says Kelly Nwachuku-Lavelle, Founder and Executive Director, ElleSolaire.
Together, we can End the Darkness.