With the motto of “Light. Hope. Opportunity,’ Solar Sister helps to eradicate energy poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa by empowering women with economic opportunity. Using a person-to-person distribution system, they combine solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light to the most remote communities in rural Africa, primarily in Uganda and Rwanda. Solar Sister focuses on the sale of ‘solar lamps’ to replace the toxic kerosene lanterns.
One catalyst for their success is that recipients can pay off their solar lantern in monthly installments without having to pay any up-front costs. In addition, monthly fuel savings typically more than offset the payments for the new solar lantern — so participating households can actually profit from their improved health and safety. As social entrepreneurs, Solar Sister team members provide vital access to clean energy technology through a market-based approach that builds and extends the supply chain through women’s rural networks. These peer networks build on long-term relationships based on trust and understanding.
Additional examples of low-cost and ecologically-friendly lighting success stories can be found in the Ecological Handprints eBook.