In rural Namibia, women work in the fields, cook, clean, educate their children, kill snakes, travel to the market, care for sick family members... In essence, most everything that gets done is done by women. All of these activities can be made easier and more efficient with assistance from clean energy technologies sold by women entrepreneurs to their neighbors.
Energy is a basic necessity for survival and an essential component of economic and social development. However, over 70% of rural Namibians still live without electricity, and as a result are dependent upon costly and dangerous candles for lighting and open fires for cooking. In addition to being expensive, candles provide woman inefficient light with which to carry out household duties or help children study. Women also spend hours each week collecting wood for cooking.
Through the Women's Energy Project (WE Project), women are empowered as village sales representatives, allowing them to distribute safe, clean and money-saving energy technologies-such as solar-powered lanterns, cell phone chargers, and fuel-efficient cookstoves-directly to their neighbors. This women-centered, village-based sales model enables greater energy access in remote communities and generates income for rural saleswomen, empowering them to improve life in their communities.
The WE Project provides women with the tools necessary to create economic opportunities, allowing them to help their families rise out of poverty. By distributing lights through a sustainable business rather than handing them out, the WE Project ensures that women and their communities will benefit from the project for years to come. Current WE Project participants tell us that many of their daily tasks have been made easier, safer and more efficient thanks to affordable energy technologies.