Energy 4 Impact has been awarded a grant by the Swedish Postcode Foundation to implement the Productive and Empowered Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Senegal programme. 55 women groups and cooperatives, representing over 2,600 women engaged in farming, dairy production, agro-transformation, shop keeping and weaving in the Tambacounda, Kolda and Thiès regions will be supported to improve their productivity, livelihood and income thanks to investments in sustainable energies.
In Senegal, it is estimated that only 32% of the rural population has access to electricity, as such nearly 70% of rural households, institutions and small businesses rely on hazardous and inefficient energy sources for lighting, cooking and productive needs. Low access to energy has a severe impact on economic development and is a deep-rooted cause of the low productivity of the Senegalese economy, especially in rural areas. In fact, 46% of 15 million Senegalese live below the poverty line and 50% are food insecure. In this context, Energy 4 Impact has designed the Productive and Empowered Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Senegal programme with the vision that empowered women enterprises, with improved energy access, can have a transformational impact on the livelihoods of local communities, combat climate change and modernise traditional economic activities to decrease the hardship of their labour.
Through a combination of mentorship, capacity building, access to pilot grants and to concessional debt, strategic partnerships along the value chain and market linkages, women groups will be able to invest in productive appliances (solar powered fridges, crop dryers, irrigation systems and mills). The project will be implemented in collaboration with local technical partners, financial institutions, equipment suppliers, manufacturers, and authorities.
By strengthening women businesses skills through finance, marketing, agronomy and technology mentoring, and facilitating investment in productive appliances, the initiative hopes to help women entrepreneurs increase the productivity, resilience, efficiency and viability of their businesses.