A survey, commissioned by Energy 4 Impact among a sample of population in the rural region of Tambacounda, Eastern Senegal, has recorded a significant change in sentiment towards clean energy technologies, following a series of marketing and awareness raising campaigns carried out between December 2016 and April 2017.
The campaigns, led by Energy 4 Impact, aimed to promote the benefits of solar lamps and improved cookstoves. They also advocated for the active participation of women in the clean energy sector, both as users and decision-makers and providers.
The study, conducted by Liaison Marketing, reveals that 91% of the interviewees said they were aware of the availability of solar lamps, as opposed to just 58% before the sensitisation events. The survey also found an increase in the number of people who have recently purchased solar lamps for household use.
It was also found that 81% of the interviewees knew about the availability of improved cookstoves, as opposed to 31% before the campaign.
Low-income people living in rural communities are often put off by the upfront costs of these technologies. However, these figures show that the campaign messages helped them appreciate the advantages of investing in such technologies. These include the long-term health benefits and saving money on cost of fuel.
The campaign was also successful in changing people’s perception about the role that women can play in the energy sector. Following the sensitisation events, 83% of those surveyed in the village of Sao Soucouta believed that women can effectively deliver energy services and products, compared to only 3% before the events.
- Abdoul Karim Dosso, WEE Project Manager at Energy 4 Impact
One of the main challenges of the campaign was changing the perception of women, as it is deeply engrained in culture, with no quick solution. On average, only 51% of people believed women can be game-changers in accelerating access to energy in off-grid communities. The main reasons given were lack of access to finance; lack of support from husbands; lack of technical training and time. There was little awareness of the support which is available for women entrepreneurs in this sector, an area which will be the focus of future campaigns.
Future analysis will be needed to evaluate whether the actual purchases of available technologies match the numbers of those who expressed intent to buy them, as well as targeting key areas to continue to raise awareness.
The survey was undertaken as part of Energy 4 Impact’s Energy Opportunities for Women in Senegal project. Funded by ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, the initiative aims to improve livelihoods, incomes and employment in rural areas in Senegal, by supporting 160 women entrepreneurs engaged in both expanding energy access and productive uses.