Currently, in Kenya, around only 50% of people have access to electricity. Women are also rarely engaged in solar policy, generation, distribution and commercial services.
Recently, SolarAid became aware of the She Shapes The City project, which tells the stories of 10 inspiring women who are involved in the growing solar energy market in Kenya. The campaign intends to spark discussion on how to sustainably electrify Kenya by empowering women. SolarAid loves such inspiring stories as they showcase just how people have taken advantage of the solar movement for the greater good.
Here are some of the inspiring women who have changed the face of Solar in Nairobi, Kenya.
Teddy Nalubega is a Solar Scholar on a mission to train up female solar technicians across Kenya. When a recent study revealed that only 10% of 300 solar installations were still functioning after a few months, Teddy decided that more needed to be done to encourage women to participate in solar installations.
The issues were attributed to the technicians not having particular training in solar, so Teddy travelled to local institutions across the country training county technical colleges and universities on how to install solar.
“If you give someone a chance, they will show you that things can work.” – Teddy Nalubega
Whilst running a multitude of renewable energy programs at Strathmore, Teddy has helped set up WISE (Women In Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship) to advocate and support women in the sector.
Judith Ahenda is a successful solar entrepreneur from Siaya County, southwest of Kenya. Judith heads a solar business, which spans three shops and five villages, selling solar products. Starting out as a smallholder, her life changed when she was recommended for a training program by the local Agricultural Officers where she took part in an entrepreneurial cook stove project.
She soon diversified to selling solar lanterns, providing her local communities with a valuable alternative to dangerous kerosene lamps.
“I would encourage [women] to go into the solar business… It has brought me from one step to another” – Judith Ahenda
Naomi Mutua is a solar convert whose life changed because of the development of the solar minigrid power plant in Talek, Kenya. The solar minigrid is able to support a community, independently of the national power grid and gave Naomi the opportunity to set up a new beauty salon, a service which was previously unavailable to the people of her town.
These amazing stories are exactly the kind of inspiration we love to hear about at SolarAid. Solar has created a huge impact in Africa and the She Shapes The City project highlights how the movement is still growing. As market catalysers, SolarAid is proud to have played a part in developing the Kenyan solar market and it is extremely inspired to hear from and see such passionate and inspirational women who are now driving their own solar industry forward.
Her message is simple, “people need to speak to the institution that brought us power so that they also have the electricity extended to them. Our lives have changed.”
Our mission continues and we hope to achieve the same impact in Uganda, Malawi and Zambia in the coming years. It’s so motivating to hear these entrepreneurs’ stories, hopefully their messages will spread throughout Africa and inspire others to become part of the solar revolution.